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overcome

[oh-ver-kuhm]
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verb (used with object), o·ver·came, o·ver·come, o·ver·com·ing.
  1. to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat: to overcome the enemy.
  2. to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount: to overcome one's weaknesses.
  3. to overpower or overwhelm in body or mind, as does liquor, a drug, exertion, or emotion: I was overcome with grief.
  4. Archaic. to overspread or overrun.
verb (used without object), o·ver·came, o·ver·come, o·ver·com·ing.
  1. 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 formso·ver·com·er, nounun·o·ver·come, adjective

Synonyms

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1. vanquish.

Synonym study

1. See defeat.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for overcome

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He had fallen into a chair, faint and overcome, as tears came to his eyes.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • This computation covers only the machine's power to overcome resistance.

    Flying Machines

    W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

  • What was the matter with her that she was less gay, and that she was so overcome by this delicious pang?

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • What had he said, what was the word he had just pronounced, that she should be so overcome by it?

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • She listened to him, silent, overcome with compassion, yet very happy withal.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola


British Dictionary definitions for overcome

overcome

verb -comes, -coming, -came or -come
  1. (tr) to get the better of in a conflict
  2. (tr; often passive) to render incapable or powerless by laughter, sorrow, exhaustion, etche was overcome by fumes
  3. (tr) to surmount (obstacles, objections, etc)
  4. (intr) 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

Word Origin and History for overcome

v.

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