over·​throw | \ ˌō-vər-ˈthrō How to pronounce overthrow (audio) \
overthrew\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈthrü How to pronounce overthrow (audio) \; overthrown\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈthrōn How to pronounce overthrow (audio) \; overthrowing

Definition of overthrow

transitive verb

2 : to cause the downfall of : bring down, defeat
3 : to throw a ball over or past (something or someone, such as a base or a receiver)

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Other Words from overthrow

overthrow \ ˈō-​vər-​ˌthrō How to pronounce overthrow (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for overthrow

conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy. conquer implies gaining mastery of. Caesar conquered Gaul vanquish implies a complete overpowering. vanquished the enemy and ended the war defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals. the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas subdue implies a defeating and suppression. subdued the native tribes after years of fighting reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender. the city was reduced after a month-long siege overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle. overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power. violently overthrew the old regime

Examples of overthrow in a Sentence

The quarterback overthrew his receiver.
Recent Examples on the Web The people attempting to overthrow the government and threatening American democracy were betraying their own duty as citizens. Mariya Manzhos, Washington Post, "I Had No Plans to Become an American. . .," 24 Mar. 2021 Tundu Lissu, the main opposition candidate running against him, was accused of trying to overthrow the government and had to leave the country. New York Times, "John Magufuli, Tanzania Leader Who Played Down Covid, Dies at 61," 17 Mar. 2021 Rosen wrote that the law didn't require proof of a plot to overthrow the U.S. government. Larry Neumeister, Star Tribune, "Rare sedition charge gains interest after Capitol attack," 15 Jan. 2021 Nor is your unmasked frat party, your socially undistanced wedding — or your attempt to overthrow the U.S. government in a Viking helmet. Ezra Marcus New York Times, Star Tribune, "Snitching is spreading along with the virus," 15 Mar. 2021 And this mirage of reconciliation might have gained substance from the knowledge that Trump’s attempt to overthrow the results of the election failed in large part thanks to the basic decency of some Republican state officials and judges. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "To Hell with Unity," 2 Mar. 2021 Authorities say the primary poll was an attempt to overthrow the government. Britt Clennett, ABC News, "47 Hong Kong activists and politicians charged for state subversion, most severe use of the national security law to date," 1 Mar. 2021 Neither is your unmasked frat party, your socially undistanced wedding — or your attempt to overthrow the United States government in a Viking helmet. Ezra Marcus, New York Times, "The Season of the Snitch," 26 Feb. 2021 On April 17, 1961, paramilitary soldiers stormed Cuba’s Playa Girón, launching the brief and doomed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro that became known as the Bay of Pigs. Susan Seubert, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Once-Classified Tale of Juanita Moody," 24 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overthrow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of overthrow

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for overthrow

Time Traveler

The first known use of overthrow was in the 14th century

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Statistics for overthrow

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overthrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overthrow. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for overthrow



English Language Learners Definition of overthrow

: to remove (someone or something) from power especially by force
US, sports : to throw a ball over or past (someone)


over·​throw | \ ˌō-vər-ˈthrō How to pronounce overthrow (audio) \
overthrew\ -​ˈthrü \; overthrown\ -​ˈthrōn \; overthrowing

Kids Definition of overthrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : overturn sense 1 Wind overthrew the flower pots.
2 : to cause the fall or end of : destroy Rebels overthrew the government.


over·​throw | \ ˈō-vər-ˌthrō How to pronounce overthrow (audio) \

Kids Definition of overthrow (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of causing the fall or end of : the state of being overthrown : defeat

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