[verb oh-ver-throh; noun oh-ver-throh]
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verb (used with object), o·ver·threw, o·ver·thrown, o·ver·throw·ing.
  1. to depose, as from a position of power; overcome, defeat, or vanquish: to overthrow a tyrant.
  2. to put an end to by force, as a government or institution.
  3. to throw or knock down; overturn; topple: The heavy winds overthrew numerous telephone poles and trees.
  4. to knock down and demolish.
  5. to throw (something) too far.
  6. Baseball. (of a pitcher) to throw too hard, often affecting control or straining the arm.
  7. Archaic. to destroy the sound condition of (the mind).
verb (used without object), o·ver·threw, o·ver·thrown, o·ver·throw·ing.
  1. to throw too far: If I hadn't overthrown, it would have been a sure putout.
  1. the act of overthrowing; state or condition of being overthrown.
  2. deposition from power.
  3. defeat; destruction; ruin.

Origin of overthrow

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at over-, throw
Related formso·ver·throw·er, nounpre·o·ver·throw, nounpre·o·ver·throw, verb (used with object), pre·o·ver·threw, pre·o·ver·thrown, pre·o·ver·throw·ing.un·o·ver·thrown, adjective

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

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British Dictionary definitions for overthrow


verb (ˌəʊvəˈθrəʊ) -throws, -throwing, -threw or -thrown
  1. (tr) to effect the downfall or destruction of (a ruler, institution, etc), esp by force
  2. (tr) to throw or turn over
  3. (tr) to throw (something, esp a ball) too far
noun (ˈəʊvəˌθrəʊ)
  1. an act of overthrowing
  2. downfall; destruction
  3. cricket
    1. a ball thrown back too far by a fielder
    2. a run scored because of this
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 overthrow

early 14c., "to knock down," from over- + throw (v.). Figurative sense of "to cast down from power, defeat" is attested from late 14c. Related: Overthrown; overthrowing. Earlier in same senses was overwerpen "to overturn (something), overthrow; destroy," from Old English oferweorpan (see warp (v.)).


1510s, "act of overthrowing," from over- + throw (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper