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[oh-ver-too k] /ˌoʊ vərˈtʊk/
simple past tense of overtake.


[oh-ver-teyk] /ˌoʊ vərˈteɪk/
verb (used with object), overtook, overtaken, overtaking.
to catch up with in traveling or pursuit; draw even with:
By taking a cab to the next town, we managed to overtake and board the train.
to catch up with and pass, as in a race; move by:
He overtook the leader three laps from the finish.
to move ahead of in achievement, production, score, etc.; surpass:
to overtake all other countries in steel production.
to happen to or befall someone suddenly or unexpectedly, as night, a storm, or death:
The pounding rainstorm overtook them just outside the city.
verb (used without object), overtook, overtaken, overtaking.
to pass another vehicle:
Never overtake on a curve.
Origin of overtake
1175-1225; Middle English overtaken; see over-, take
Related forms
unovertaken, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for overtook
  • As the thunderstorm overtook us, it became obvious that this was something completely different.
  • It was in the midst of these activities that a great calamity overtook him.
  • One day they came across a white goat, and before the slow creature could reach the precipice the dogs overtook and bayed it.
  • Every time that the cart overtook a pedestrian traveller, there was an exchanging of questions and replies.
  • He soon overtook him, but for some time walked behind him.
  • The pain became so bad that she could no longer hold her bow, and fatigue overtook her life.
  • It quickly overtook its rival by not charging transaction fees.
  • The tui chub overtook the lake's ecosystem and consumed many of the small aquatic organisms that normally control algae growth.
  • As they left in their pickup truck, floodwater overtook them and smashed it against a telephone pole.
  • Business at the cycle shop boomed, and it overtook the printing shop to become their primary business.
British Dictionary definitions for overtook


verb -takes, -taking, -took, -taken
(mainly Brit) to move past (another vehicle or person) travelling in the same direction
(transitive) to pass or do better than, after catching up with
(transitive) to come upon suddenly or unexpectedly: night overtook him
(transitive) to catch up with; draw level with
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 overtook



"to come up to, to catch in pursuit," early 13c., from over- + take (v.). According to OED, originally "the running down and catching of a fugitive or beast of chase"; it finds the sense of over- in this word "not so clear." Related: Overtaken; overtaking. Old English had oferniman "to take away, carry off, seize, ravish."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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