over·​throw | \ ˌō-vər-ˈthrō \
overthrew\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈthrü \; overthrown\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈthrōn \; 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 \ 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

And then, to see another monarch show up at your door in rags with nothing, having been overthrown by his country. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Jenna Coleman Reveals Why She Likes Playing Victoria Most When the Queen Is Pregnant," 14 Jan. 2019 Gates said, including a possible peace treaty, diplomatic recognition and a promise not to overthrow the regime. Fortune, "Mike Pompeo: U.S. Can Send 'Capital' to North Korea After Denuclearization," 13 May 2018 In reply, the army undermined Mr Sharif, backing a months-long street protest by a big opposition party, the Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI), aimed at overthrowing his government. The Economist, "Pakistan’s army is using every trick to sideline Nawaz Sharif," 21 June 2018 Michael Conforto, singled out for criticism by Callaway for overthrowing a cutoff man in the Mets’ 7-4 loss on Friday, spared deGrom from a heartbreaking defeat with a game-tying solo home run off Montgomery in the sixth. Wallace Matthews, New York Times, "DeGrom Ties Career High With 13 Strikeouts as Mets Fall Apart," 3 June 2018 One quality Netanyahu has in common with Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is a fervent desire for war with Iran, with the explicit goal of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Iran Deal Exit Has Raised the Risk of War, Even Faster Than Expected," 11 May 2018 Although Trump is sharply critical of Iran and preparing for a decision by week's end about whether to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, his administration has not called for overthrowing Iran's government. NBC News, "State Department: Giuliani doesn't speak for U.S. on foreign policy," 7 May 2018 Following the invasion of Egypt by Israel, Britain and France also invaded Egypt with the goal of regaining Western control of the Suez Canal—which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea—and overthrowing the Egyptian President. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "7 Predictions For What's Coming In 'The Crown' Season 2," 15 Nov. 2016 His death intensified a conflict that eventually led to Somoza’s overthrow a year later by the Sandinistas and Mr. Ortega. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Nicaraguan Police Raid News Outlet as Government Crackdown Widens," 14 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for overthrow

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for overthrow

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

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More Definitions for overthrow



English Language Learners Definition of overthrow

: to remove (someone or something) from power especially by force

sports : to throw a ball over or past (someone)


over·​throw | \ ˌō-vər-ˈthrō \
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 \

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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Comments on overthrow

What made you want to look up overthrow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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