over·​turn | \ ˌō-vər-ˈtərn How to pronounce overturn (audio) \
overturned; overturning; overturns

Definition of overturn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to turn over : upset overturned the vase
2a : invalidate, destroy the degree to which accident could overturn the schemes of wise men— Oscar Handlin
b : reverse sense 2a overturn a court ruling

intransitive verb

: upset, turn over The car went off the road and overturned several times.


over·​turn | \ ˈō-vər-ˌtərn How to pronounce overturn (audio) \

Definition of overturn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of overturning : the state of being overturned
2 : the sinking of surface water and rise of bottom water in a lake or sea that results from changes in temperature that commonly occur in spring and fall

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Synonyms & Antonyms for overturn

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of overturn in a Sentence

Verb The dog overturned the bowl. The truck went off the road and overturned several times. The court overturned his conviction.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Public Defender’s Office also appealed to the state’s high court, asking them to overturn the conviction entirely. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County judge orders new trial for four men convicted of rape, citing fellow judge’s conversations with his wife about the case," 30 June 2020 In Texas, a group of bar owners sued on Monday to try to overturn Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's order closing their businesses. Tamara Lush And Emily Schmall, The Christian Science Monitor, "Summer 2020: Sweaters off, but masks on as virus cases surge," 30 June 2020 On Monday, a group of Texas bar owners sued to try to overturn Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s order closing their businesses. BostonGlobe.com, "COVID-19 treatment maker to charge hospitals $3,120 per treatment," 29 June 2020 In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration urges Supreme Court to overturn Affordable Care Act," 26 June 2020 Based on these facts, the Michigan Court of Appeals declined to overturn Bardwell’s convictions or his sentences. Audra Gamble, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan man loses appeal of conviction for attempting to kill his father," 25 June 2020 House members tried to overturn Cooper's veto of House Bill 594, which would have reopened bars and gyms, before the governor had time to clear his news conference Wednesday. Nyamekye Daniel, Washington Examiner, "Cooper extends phase 2 restrictions; House veto override to reopen bars, gyms fails," 25 June 2020 Catholic Social Services has asked the court to overturn a 1990 Supreme Court ruling in the case Employment Division v. Smith that limited such exemptions. NBC News, "Next LGBTQ rights legal battle looms after Supreme Court victory," 16 June 2020 Maximum Security’s owners, Gary and Mary West, persist in their efforts to overturn that decision, Tuesday in Cincinnati’s Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Maximum Security's Kentucky Derby DQ appeal was about everything except interference," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In short, Ball called for a complete overturn of the class system. Susan Wade, The Conversation, "Uprisings after pandemics have happened before – just look at the English Peasant Revolt of 1381," 5 June 2020 The car spins and overturns, sending sparks flying. USA Today, "Moment by moment: Ryan Newman's crash in final lap of Daytona 500," 20 Feb. 2020 However, the vast majority of challenges (178 of 215 total challenges) have come on foul calls, resulting in an overturn rate of just 39%. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Giannis to miss Wednesday's game with right quad tendon soreness, joining Zion on the shelf," 11 Dec. 2019 The most frustrating call for Auburn, though, had to be the overturn of Williams’ would-be 17-yard reception. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Marlon Davidson: It felt like Auburn had to ‘beat the refs’ and Georgia," 17 Nov. 2019 One of many reasons why: A controversial overturn on Beverley’s strip of James. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Why it’s difficult to predict how Lakers and Clippers will fare in playoff series," 27 Dec. 2019 The last reported overturn of a conviction was an innocent man who spent 20 years in jail before being exonerated. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: Budget surplus? Expect new programs of questionable merit that will live forever," 11 Dec. 2019 However, replays showed King was in an onside position when the ball was played to him, and the decision was overturn, granting Bournemouth their equaliser. SI.com, "7 of the Best Moments From a Cracking Weekend of Premier League Action," 30 Sep. 2019 The onside kick overturn came after Auburn scored its first touchdown of the game with 10:04 to play. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Marlon Davidson: It felt like Auburn had to ‘beat the refs’ and Georgia," 17 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overturn.' 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 overturn


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


circa 1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for overturn

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The first known use of overturn was in the 13th century

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Statistics for overturn

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overturn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overturn. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for overturn


How to pronounce overturn (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overturn

: to turn (something) over
: to turn over
: to decide that (a ruling, decision, etc.) is wrong and change it


over·​turn | \ ˌō-vər-ˈtərn How to pronounce overturn (audio) \
overturned; overturning

Kids Definition of overturn

1 : to turn over or upside down Waves overturned the boat.
2 : to reverse or cancel something previously decided or ordered The judge overturned the lower court's ruling.

Legal Definition of overturn

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