Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for overtook
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had started on the return journey, and was only a mile from Yuin when we overtook him.

  • Then he galloped down the trail, and overtook her at the Point o' Rocks.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • A conviction that it was Charles Channing who was drowned, overtook them all.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • He sprang to his feet, bolted out, and overtook her at once.

    Salted With Fire George MacDonald
  • Mukhorty overtook them, and struck his hoofs against the back of the sledge in front of them.

    Master and Man Leo Tolstoy
  • They overtook it, and passed through the gateway with the little procession.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • By an impulse which he could not resist he followed her, overtook her, and looked into her face.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • He overtook the lawyer just as the latter reached the side door.

    Mary-'Gusta Joseph C. Lincoln
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for overtook

Word Value for overtook

Scrabble Words With Friends