[verb oh-ver-ruhn; noun oh-ver-ruhn]

verb (used with object), o·ver·ran, o·ver·run, o·ver·run·ning.

verb (used without object), o·ver·ran, o·ver·run, o·ver·run·ning.

to run over; overflow: a stream that always overruns at springtime.
to exceed the proper, desired, or normal quantity, limit, order, etc.: Do you want to overrun on this next issue?


Origin of overrun

before 900; Middle English overrennen, Old English oferyrnan. See over-, run
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for over-running

Contemporary Examples of over-running

Historical Examples of over-running

  • But we are over-running our dates and must return to events at the isthmus.

    The Panama Canal

    J. Saxon Mills

  • The accident was caused by the over-running of a bullock which had strayed upon the line.

    Norfolk Annals

    Charles Mackie

  • Try as he might, he could not keep the tears from over-running his eyelids.

  • She was quite breathless, and looked sick and faint with over-running.

  • No advantage is obtained by over-running a Nernst lamp, this only shortening its life without increasing the light.

British Dictionary definitions for over-running


verb (ˌəʊvəˈrʌn) -runs, -running, -ran or -run

(tr) to attack or invade and defeat conclusively
(tr) to swarm or spread over rapidly
to run over (something); overflow
to extend or run beyond a limit
(intr) (of an engine) to run with a closed throttle at a speed dictated by that of the vehicle it drives, as on a decline
  1. to print (a book, journal, etc) in a greater quantity than ordered
  2. to print additional copies of (a publication)
(tr) printing to transfer (set type and other matter) from one column, line, or page, to another
(tr) archaic to run faster than

noun (ˈəʊvəˌrʌn)

the act or an instance of overrunning
the amount or extent of overrunning
the number of copies of a publication in excess of the quantity ordered
the cleared level area at the end of an airport runway
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 over-running



Old English oferyrnan; see over- + run (v.). The noun meaning "excess expenditure over budget" is from 1956. Related: Overran; overrunning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper