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

transitive verb

: to cause the downfall of : bring down, defeat
: to throw a ball over or past (something or someone, such as a base or a receiver)
overthrow 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 In 2007, Hamas forcefully took control of Gaza, overthrowing the Palestinian Authority in the strip. Maeghan Dolph, Fox News, 22 Nov. 2023 Late in the third quarter Stafford overthrew a wide-open Henderson, who had acres of open field ahead of him to the end zone. Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 That’s why the summit will likely reinforce his intent to overthrow American global power. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2023 On another occasion, Mayden overthrew tight end Mark Redman in the end zone for a potential game-winning touchdown. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Nov. 2023 This battle is to completely overthrow the situation. Louis Casiano, Fox News, 9 Nov. 2023 Many Native Hawaiians suffer from generational trauma dating back to 1893, when the U.S. military overthrew Hawaii’s constitutional monarchy, Lanuza said. Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC News, 5 Nov. 2023 That means that the couple would have left several years after a military junta overthrew Perón’s wife and successor, Isabel Perón, and began violently persecuting socialists and other left-wing groups. Teo Armus, Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2023 Determined to overthrow Gretsch and bring music back to his town, Wirral joins forces with an underground band of legendary musicians who hide high in the clouds, in a secret place called Harmonia. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 26 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overthrow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near overthrow

Cite this Entry

“Overthrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overthrow. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


over·​throw -ˈthrō How to pronounce overthrow (audio)
overthrew -ˈthrü How to pronounce overthrow (audio) ; overthrown -ˈthrōn How to pronounce overthrow (audio) ; overthrowing
: overturn sense 1, upset
lawn chairs overthrown by the gale
: defeat entry 1, destroy
a government overthrown by rebels
: to throw a ball over or past
overthrew second base
overthrow noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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