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 vice president and parliamentarian might issue rulings against the filibuster, but the senators could overturn them. Thomas Geoghegan, The New Republic, 14 June 2021 One legal ease can overturn this when so many people came forward. ... Amir Vera, CNN, 30 June 2021 The House voted 218-208 to overturn the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's payday lending regulations, with one Republican voting with Democrats. Ken Sweet, Star Tribune, 24 June 2021 The activists sought to overturn these while, in parallel, establishing a body of Indigenous law. New York Times, 17 June 2021 When weather conditions turn, smaller boats or kayaks meant for use in calm conditions can easily overturn. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 16 June 2021 Attorneys general can overturn decisions made by immigration judges because immigration courts are housed under the Justice Department, not the judicial branch. BostonGlobe.com, 16 June 2021 The bills the Democrats support aim, in part, to overturn several Supreme Court rulings that, as David Savage wrote, have tilted election law in favor of the Republicans. Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2021 There has been little effort to overturn this right, even among leaders who spent decades fighting against gay rights. Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, 24 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

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overturn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overturn. Accessed 25 Jul. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on overturn

Nglish: Translation of overturn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overturn for Arabic Speakers


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