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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Unfortunately this humor dilutes his more serious observations of patriarchal culture and makes the women's mission to overthrow it seem almost a joke. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Lesbian revolutionaries smash sexual taboos to undermine the patriarchy in Bruce LaBruce's The Misandrists," 6 July 2018 Photo: Harry How/Getty Images The swift decision to entrust him with control of the team coincided with another critical development in this classic Hollywood saga: Jeanie Buss’s own family members were plotting to overthrow her. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "How LeBron James Was Courted by the Lakers," 2 July 2018 Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison for plotting to overthrow the Iranian government. Don Maines, Houston Chronicle, "Alvin city manager to leave job for Pfugerville post," 6 July 2018 Jones, who regularly promotes false conspiracies theories on his InfoWars show, claimed without evidence over the weekend that Democrats were plotting a civil war on Independence Day to overthrow President Donald Trump. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "#SecondCivilWarLetters: Alex Jones conspiracy theory sparks viral joke," 4 July 2018 The autocrats of Russia and Eastern Europe charge him with everything from trying to overthrow their regimes to staging fake chemical attacks in Syria. Trudy Rubin, Philly.com, "Roseanne's other twisted tweet of the week. (The one you didn't already read about) | Trudy Rubin," 1 June 2018 His selection would represent a symbolic change for a regime mostly led by the bearded guerrillas who fought alongside the Castros during the 1959 revolution that overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "Cuba will soon be without a Castro as leader for first time in nearly 60 years," 6 Apr. 2018 Saeed, Hameed and another judicial officer were charged with receiving bribes to help overthrow the government. Mohamed Sharuhaan, chicagotribune.com, "Maldives former dictator, judges charged with terrorism," 21 Mar. 2018 One day incels will realize their true strength and numbers, and will overthrow this oppressive feminist system. Lilly Dancyger, Glamour, "Incels: Breaking Down the Disturbing, Thriving Online Community of Celibate Men," 26 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of overthrow

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overthrow

Statistics for overthrow

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overthrow

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!