over·​win·​ter | \ ˌō-vər-ˈwin-tər How to pronounce overwinter (audio) \
overwintered; overwintering; overwinters

Definition of overwinter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to last through or pass the winter



Definition of overwinter (Entry 2 of 2)

: occurring during the period spanning the winter

Examples of overwinter in a Sentence

Verb The geese will overwinter in a warmer climate.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Orangery is one of the surviving 19th-century structures at Dumbarton Oaks and is still used to overwinter tender plants. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "A century ago, landscape design was a man’s world. But these women created a garden for the ages.," 7 Apr. 2021 Year-one individuals overwinter differently from the older generation. Philip Kiefer, Popular Science, "Does a cold winter mean fewer bugs in the summer?," 25 Feb. 2021 Thus far, winter has been relatively mild, so turkeys are expected to overwinter well, which points to a promising spring 2021 season. Brian Lovett, Outdoor Life, "Your State-by-State Spring 2021 Turkey Forecast," 8 Jan. 2021 The number of Eastern monarchs — which undertake an astonishing, multigenerational migration from as far north as Canada to overwinter in central Mexico — has declined by 75 percent since the 1990s, scientists estimate. New York Times, "Monarch Butterflies Qualify for Endangered List. They Still Won’t Be Protected.," 15 Dec. 2020 Some insects that attack plants could also be benefited by having a place to hide and overwinter under or within a think leaf pile, such as earwigs. oregonlive, "Nutrients from fallen leaves help soil, but can also hosts pests: Ask an expert," 5 Dec. 2020 Horticultural oil to suffocate scale, whiteflies, mealy bugs and other tiny pests that overwinter in the bark. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Check off these December garden chores for a parade of blooms in spring," 5 Dec. 2020 Flickers, red-heads and sapsuckers usually go south in the fall, although flickers occasionally overwinter. Jim Williams, Star Tribune, "Woodpeckers may annoy you, but they're helpers in the bird community," 27 Oct. 2020 Many pollinators overwinter in the dead stems and leaves as eggs, pupae or adults. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Winterscaping the yard can take the chill out of a snowy landscape," 1 Oct. 2020

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1900, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of overwinter was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overwinter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overwinter. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of overwinter

: to spend or survive the winter

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