[verb oh-ver-hawl, oh-ver-hawl; noun oh-ver-hawl]

verb (used with object)

to make necessary repairs on; restore to serviceable condition: My car was overhauled by an expert mechanic.
to investigate or examine thoroughly for repair or revision: Next year we're going to overhaul the curriculum.
to gain upon, catch up with, or overtake, as in a race.
to haul or turn over for examination.
  1. to slacken (a rope) by hauling in the opposite direction to that in which the rope was drawn taut.
  2. to release the blocks of (a tackle).


Also o·ver·haul·ing. a general examination and repair: The state roads were badly in need of a major overhaul.

Origin of overhaul

First recorded in 1620–30; over- + haul
Related formso·ver·haul·er, nounun·o·ver·hauled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overhaul

Contemporary Examples of overhaul

Historical Examples of overhaul

  • The cruisers did not overhaul the little vessel as rapidly as Madden had anticipated.

  • While breakfast was in the course of preparation he went out to overhaul his saddle.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • I don't think that craft could overhaul the Lion, if they tried ever so.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • Not much, only I would like to have you overhaul my knapsack for me.

    Winning His Way

    Charles Carleton Coffin

  • Whilst they were absent I carried the captain into the hold and left him to overhaul it.

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

British Dictionary definitions for overhaul


verb (ˌəʊvəˈhɔːl) (tr)

to examine carefully for faults, necessary repairs, etc
to make repairs or adjustments to (a car, machine, etc)
to overtake

noun (ˈəʊvəˌhɔːl)

a thorough examination and repair
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 overhaul

1620s, from over- + haul (v.); originally nautical, "pull rigging apart for examination," which was done by slackening the rope by hauling in the opposite direction to that in which it is pulled in hoisting. Replaced overhale in sense of "overtake" (1793). Related: Overhauled; overhauling.


1826, from overhaul (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper