over·​take | \ ˌō-vər-ˈtāk How to pronounce overtake (audio) \
overtook\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈtu̇k How to pronounce overtake (audio) \; overtaken\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈtā-​kən How to pronounce overtake (audio) \; overtaking

Definition of overtake

transitive verb

1a : to catch up with
b : to catch up with and pass by
2 : to come upon suddenly

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Examples of overtake in a Sentence

She overtook the other runners and went on to win the race. The sign says “No Overtaking.” Seasickness can overtake passengers when the ship encounters a storm.
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Recent Examples on the Web Another candidate could win more second- and third-choice votes and overtake that candidate. BostonGlobe.com, 21 June 2021 If a hacker can overtake a V2I, this could be disastrous as the V2I might be misinforming self-driving cars about things that are dangerously untrue or confounding. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 But at its conclusion, the United States badly miscalculated the speed and absolutism with which the Taliban would overtake the country, and finger-pointing and postmortems began over what went wrong. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug. 2021 Orlando forced three saves and took eight shots in the game, jumpstarting their offense to overtake possession by nearly 55% in the second half to build to Kornieck’s equalizer. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, 5 Sep. 2021 The bouts at the Kokugikan, the country’s premier sumo venue, were among the last chances for the Americans to overtake China in the race to claim to the most gold medals. Ken Belson, New York Times, 8 Aug. 2021 But although forecasts predict China's economy could overtake the U.S. in size as early as 2028, the country also has one of the highest levels of income inequality of any major world economy. NBC News, 1 July 2021 The five-bedroom home, with four full bathrooms and two half-baths, was finished in 2018, just in time for son Nicholas to overtake his father in the height department. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, 16 June 2021 The Timberwolves trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half before rallying to overtake the Jazz in the third quarter. John Coon, Star Tribune, 24 Apr. 2021

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

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

History and Etymology for overtake

Middle English, from over entry 1 + taken to take

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Time Traveler for overtake

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near overtake



overtaken by events

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overtake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overtake. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for overtake



English Language Learners Definition of overtake

: to move up to and past (someone or something that is in front of you) by moving faster
: to go past another vehicle that is moving more slowly in the same direction
: to happen to or affect (someone) in a sudden and unexpected way


over·​take | \ ˌō-vər-ˈtāk How to pronounce overtake (audio) \
overtook\ -​ˈtu̇k \; overtaken\ -​ˈtā-​kən \; overtaking

Kids Definition of overtake

1 : to catch up with and often pass I overtook the runner ahead.
2 : to come upon or happen to suddenly or without warning One night we were overtaken by a snow-storm while still a mile from the village …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

More from Merriam-Webster on overtake

Nglish: Translation of overtake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overtake for Arabic Speakers


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