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)

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 Justice Department has rarely brought charges of sedition, the crime of conspiring to overthrow the government, and has not successfully prosecuted such a case in more than 20 years. New York Times, 22 Mar. 2021 The department has rarely brought charges of sedition, the crime of conspiring to overthrow the government. BostonGlobe.com, 21 Mar. 2021 They were tried for associating with Islamist groups and plotting to overthrow the state. Asa Fitch, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Ramírez tells the story through the character of Detective Dolores Morales, who was severely wounded in the fight to overthrow the dictator Anastasio Somoza back in the 1970s and wears a leg prosthesis as a result. Alma Guillermoprieto, The New York Review of Books, 22 July 2021 The January 6 committee hearings, meanwhile, have the vitally important goal of making the case to the American public that Trump and key players in his entourage engaged in a behind-the-scenes effort to overthrow the 2020 election. Dean Obeidallah, CNN, 30 May 2022 The judge found that her words, while heated, were protected by the free-speech provisions in the Constitution and didn’t rise to an attempt to overthrow the government. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, 7 May 2022 These text messages give us a fuller view of Lee’s involvement and coordination in attempting to overthrow the democratic election. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Apr. 2022 Movement leaders now had to decide whether their cause would get behind an armed attempt to overthrow the U.S. government. Katherine Stewart, The New Republic, 10 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of overthrow

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Overthrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overthrow. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for overthrow


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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