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 According to multiple reports, Trump now believes election audits could overturn the election results and lead to him being reinstated as president. Nicholas Reimann, Forbes, 7 June 2021 The Catholic group is asking the court to overturn a 1990 decision that said the government can enforce generally applicable laws without making an exception for religious groups. BostonGlobe.com, 7 June 2021 At a tense Zoom meeting on May 20, members of the organization, Heritage of Pride, tore into their leadership, moving to overturn the ban and unseat the executive board. John Leland, New York Times, 28 May 2021 Trump’s supporters smashed into the Capitol to try and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, 20 May 2021 Trump’s supporters smashed into the Capitol to try and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. chicagotribune.com, 19 May 2021 Most in the party are still loathe to upset former President Donald Trump, who had encouraged his supporters to head to Capitol Hill that day to stop the counting of the electoral votes and overturn his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden. Mary Clare Jalonick, Star Tribune, 18 May 2021 As more states not only pass voter suppression laws but also empower legislators to undermine and overturn election results, her combination of idealism, pragmatism and persistence are precisely what the voting rights movement needs. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 15 May 2021 The train crashed into the driver's side of the car, causing the Nissan to overturn and ejecting Vest from the vehicle, state police said. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, 11 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The addition of Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and most recently, Amy Coney Barrett, has given them confidence that a reliable majority of justices are willing to revisit, and possibly overturn, the precedent set by Roe. Melanie Mason Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2021 Dallas remains in the midst of another roster overturn, which included drafting center Charli Collier No. 1 overall in this year’s draft. Dallas News, 12 May 2021 Those four Justices may not even know if there’s a majority to uphold the Mississippi law, much less overturn Casey and Roe. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 18 May 2021 Courts regularly identify legal snags and overturn convictions and sentences, even in murder cases. oregonlive, 24 Apr. 2021 In the hours after Loeffler’s plea, at least 10 local party committees voted to condemn Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger or both for not helping overturn President Donald Trump’s November defeat. al, 18 Apr. 2021 According to Alabama State Trooper Justin O’Neal, two vehicles sideswiped each other, causing one of them – a Chevrolet Cobalt - to lose control, run off the roadway and overturn. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 1 Mar. 2021 Irving charged toward the basket and caught Sexton in the face with an elbow, initially called an offensive foul before Steve Nash’s challenge led to an overturn. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 20 Jan. 2021 Yet Republican attorneys general in 17 other states sided with Texas’ Paxton in seeking to have the high court overturn the choice of Biden by majorities of voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin. David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, 11 Dec. 2020

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

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overturn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overturn. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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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 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.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of overturn


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