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 Focus efforts on preparing a contingency plan for addressing the potential success of the referendum to overturn St. Paul Ordinance 18-39 before addressing any 2020 rate adjustments. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "As haulers demand $2.5 million rate hike, St. Paul tries to get limited cart-sharing, $1 million reduction," 8 Nov. 2019 Two Sondland businesses that operate downtown Portland hotels donated a collective $10,000 toward efforts to overturn a 2013 change to county rules to allow some tax money to be spent on a hotel near the Oregon Convention Center. oregonlive, "Gordon Sondland had influence on Capitol Hill long before he became ambassador, campaign contributions show," 8 Nov. 2019 Some Sarepta investors and patient advocates within the Duchenne community have sharply criticized the FDA for rejecting Vyondys, and have prodded Sarepta to be more combative in efforts to overturn the decision. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Sarepta Therapeutics CEO playing nice with FDA over rejection of Duchenne drug," 7 Nov. 2019 First timeout: Lost after challenging a fourth-down spot This one is an understandable use of a challenge, even though spot challenges are hard to overturn. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "The Cleveland Browns are wasting timeouts and it’s killing them: What we learned against Denver," 6 Nov. 2019 The effort to overturn the city’s decision and restore the name to Paseo Boulevard started this year. John Eligon, New York Times, "Kansas City Voters Remove Martin Luther King’s Name From Boulevard," 5 Nov. 2019 Their feeble attempts to overturn the results of a free and fair election resulted in the emboldening of the targets of the recall attempts and Democrats in general. Ian Silverii, The Denver Post, "Silverii: Colorado’s GOP spent political capital and $300K for two almost-empty Budweiser boxes," 4 Nov. 2019 According to the Guardian, New Balance's attempts to overturn the High Court's decision have been blocked. SI.com, "Liverpool Move Closer to Blockbuster Nike Kit Deal as High Court Rejects New Balance Legal Challenge," 2 Nov. 2019 In 2016, a federal magistrate overturned Dassey's conviction, nearly resulting in his release from jail. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Dead Man Walking' Nun Among 250 Petitioning for Brendan Dassey's Release," 24 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The pass interference penalty challenge rule has turned into a joke because obvious overturns haven’t been overturned. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "NFL Journal: A stock up/stock down look at the league through six weeks," 20 Oct. 2019 The overturn had overwhelmed the usual after-Derby talk. oregonlive, "Trainer of Kentucky Derby winner: ‘I feel terrible that I have to apologize for winning’," 5 May 2019 Lillard and CJ McCollum are among the most durable guards in the NBA, and their core remains comparably skilled compared to last year’s despite some significant overturn. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Finding the Top Win Total Locks of the 2019-20 Season," 9 Aug. 2019 Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. Eugene Robinson, The Mercury News, "Robinson: Only an ignoramus would sound like Trump," 9 June 2019 Following the tragic overturn, Donald Trump offered his condolences to West Point in a tweet on Thursday morning. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "West Point Cadet Killed in Tragic Accident Identified as 22-Year-Old From New Jersey," 7 June 2019 How many more is hard to say for certain, but if the 9 percent pre-Roe figure referenced by Khazan begins to take shape after a possible future overturn of Roe, there would be (very roughly) 90,000 more babies in need of adoption per year. Dan Hart, National Review, "In a Post-Abortion America, the Pro-Life Movement Must Prepare to Change Attitudes toward Adoption," 7 June 2019 The first is the overturn-without-overturning approach. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh likely gives the Supreme Court the votes to overturn Roe. Here’s how they’d do it.," 5 Oct. 2018 The first is the overturn-without-overturning approach. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh likely gives the Supreme Court the votes to overturn Roe. Here’s how they’d do it.," 5 Oct. 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.

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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

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Overturn.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overturning. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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