over·turn | \ˌō-vər-ˈtərn \
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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for overturn

Synonyms: Verb

capsize, turn over, upset

Antonyms: Verb


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of overturn in a Sentence


The dog overturned the bowl. The truck went off the road and overturned several times. The court overturned his conviction.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That ruling overturned the 2015 decision by the state labor board, formally known as the Public Employment Relations Board. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "If state Supreme Court rules against San Diego on pensions, it could could cost city millions," 14 July 2018 Barrett was the right pick if Trump's top priority was smoothing the politics of overturning Roe. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "If Democrats want to fight Brett Kavanaugh, they have a lot of ammunition.," 10 July 2018 In July 2017, following a series of court rulings that found anti-panhandling laws elsewhere in the nation to be unconstitutional, Orlando overturned its 2000 ordinance that limited solicitation to a series of boxes outlined in blue paint. Kate Santich, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Downtown Orlando panhandling soaring, leaders say," 9 July 2018 In 2016 the high court overturned a Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities, and mandating that doctors have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Jeremy Wallace, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas hopes to test new Supreme Court with abortion case," 2 July 2018 This decision overturns an earlier Supreme Court precedent, which stemmed from a 1992 case where the court refused to require that mail-order retailers collect sales taxes from buyers in other states. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "What the Supreme Court's sales tax ruling means for Michigan," 21 June 2018 The pair’s 24-foot pleasure craft overturned in the waters near Islamorada, but both were wearing life jackets. Juan Ortega, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Two pulled to safety after their boat capsizes in Florida Keys," 14 July 2018 The fact remains that in viewing such laws as unconstitutional, Judge Kavanaugh would overturn the will of the people and prevent states like Connecticut from having commonsense laws on the books to stop gun violence and save lives,’’ Maloney said. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Democrats Rally Against Brett Kavanaugh Nomination," 13 July 2018 Kavanaugh wrote in a finding for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that was overturned in January by the full D.C. Circuit. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: CFPB further under fire with Kavanaugh pick for Supreme Court," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The first is the overturn-without-overturning approach. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "America under Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 In the last two-minute report released by the NBA the next day, the league determined the overturn on Young’s charge as the correct call. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "That LeBron James charge Ty Lue called unprecedented? The Pacers saw it first," 1 June 2018 Hardy was aided by an instant replay overturn in the fifth when Max Kepler — who doubled home two runs off the right-center field wall and appeared to score the go-ahead run on a single — was called out. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers bullpen falters again in 4-2 loss to Minnesota Twins," 21 May 2018 JaCoby Jones, who doubled twice, scored from second base on the overturn. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers give game away to Texas Rangers, 7-6," 7 May 2018 If one sweep of the cameras doesn’t show an easy overturn, keep the play as is. Chris Chase, For The Win, "7 rules in sports that should be changed today," 3 May 2018 Veselnitskaya previously admitted that her goal in the meeting was to push for the overturn of the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that has been used to seize the funds and restrict the movement of Russian oligarchs implicated in serious crimes. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Russian Lawyer Who Met With Trump Team Admits She Was a Kremlin Agent," 28 Apr. 2018 The overturn turned out to be even bigger when Tucker Barnhart doubled to score Schebler and give the Reds a 4-3 lead. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Bullpen can't hold lead, Cincinnati Reds fall to Atlanta Braves 5-4," 25 Apr. 2018 Constant roster overturn and injury issues have haunted him during his eight seasons with the team, but Demps finally got to see the fruits of his labor come to fruition with this year's team. William Guillory, NOLA.com, "Q&A with Dell Demps about Pelicans' run to the playoffs, growth of the team," 12 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of overturn


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


circa 1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overturn

Phrases Related to overturn

overturn the decision

Statistics for overturn

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overturn

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overturn



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 \
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.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of overturn 

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on overturn

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


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!