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[oh-ver-keym] /ˌoʊ vərˈkeɪm/
simple past tense of overcome.


[oh-ver-kuhm] /ˌoʊ vərˈkʌm/
verb (used with object), overcame, overcome, overcoming.
to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat:
to overcome the enemy.
to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount:
to overcome one's weaknesses.
to overpower or overwhelm in body or mind, as does liquor, a drug, exertion, or emotion:
I was overcome with grief.
Archaic. to overspread or overrun.
verb (used without object), overcame, overcome, overcoming.
to gain the victory; win; conquer:
a plan to overcome by any means possible.
Origin of overcome
before 900; Middle English; Old English ofercuman. See over-, come
Related forms
overcomer, noun
unovercome, adjective
1. vanquish. See defeat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for overcame
  • They knew that their mothers were still a bit apprehensive, but their curiosity overcame them.
  • But in the end his fear of appearing fearful overcame his caution.
  • Now the intellectuals can start musing about the hidden strengths that overcame all those too-evident weaknesses.
  • The two researchers overcame these challenges through clever engineering.
  • The way he overcame his lack of inches promises to change the face of cricket by inspiring others of short stature to emulate him.
  • Our night traveler had been stewed in a clay pot with star anise gravy, which overcame the bird's slightly gamy taste.
  • But once he overcame the challenge of getting mangosteens to bear, the thrill was gone.
  • He overcame temptations by discovering them to his director, and submitting to his advice with regard to his conduct under them.
  • By humility and resolution he overcame several contradictions of his chapter and other clergy.
  • All she overcame was the idea that this was the special burden of the modern period.
British Dictionary definitions for overcame


verb -comes, -coming, -came, -come
(transitive) to get the better of in a conflict
(transitive; often passive) to render incapable or powerless by laughter, sorrow, exhaustion, etc: he was overcome by fumes
(transitive) to surmount (obstacles, objections, etc)
(intransitive) to be victorious
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for overcame



Old English ofercuman "to reach, overtake," also "to conquer, prevail over," from ofer (see over) + cuman "to come" (see come (v.)). A common Germanic compound (cf. Middle Dutch overkomen, Old High German ubarqueman, German überkommen). In reference to mental or chemical force, "to overwhelm, render helpless," it is in late Old English. Meaning "to surmount" (a difficulty or obstacle) is from c.1200. The Civil Rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" was put together c.1950s from lyrics from Charles Tindley's spiritual "I'll Overcome Some Day" (1901), and melody from pre-Civil War spiritual "No More Auction Block for Me." Related: Overcame; overcoming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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