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[verb oh-ver-turn; noun oh-ver-turn] /verb ˌoʊ vərˈtɜrn; noun ˈoʊ vərˌtɜrn/
verb (used with object)
to destroy the power of; overthrow; defeat; vanquish.
to turn over on its side, face, or back; upset:
to overturn a vase.
verb (used without object)
to turn on its side, face, or back; capsize:
The boat overturned during the storm.
the act of overturning.
the state of being overturned.
Origin of overturn
Middle English word dating back to 1175-1225; See origin at over-, turn
Related forms
overturnable, adjective
1. conquer. 2. See upset. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for overturn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Coincident with the overturn came the dismissal of Bismarck and the elevation to the chancellorship of General von Caprivi.

    The Governments of Europe Frederic Austin Ogg
  • His friendship is seldom so stedfast, but that lust, drink, or anger may overturn it.

    Microcosmography John Earle
  • Democracy has on one side to assimilate aristocracy, and not overturn it.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • They cannot be controverted; nothing can overturn them, or modify them, or set them aside.

    The Lighthouse R.M. Ballantyne
  • Hypothesis may succeed hypothesis; system may destroy system: a new set of ideas may overturn the ideas of a former day.

    The System of Nature, Volume 1 Paul Henri Thiery (Baron D'Holbach)
British Dictionary definitions for overturn


verb (ˌəʊvəˈtɜːn)
to turn or cause to turn from an upright or normal position
(transitive) to overthrow or destroy
(transitive) to invalidate; reverse: the bill was passed in the Commons but overturned in the Lords
noun (ˈəʊvəˌtɜːn)
the act of overturning or the state of being overturned
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 overturn

early 13c., of a wheel, "to rotate, roll over," from over- + turn (v.). Attested from c.1300 in general transitive sense "to throw over violently;" figurative meaning "to ruin, destroy" is from late 14c. Of judicial decisions, "to reverse," it is attested from 1826. Related: Overturned; overturning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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