[oh-ver-too k]


simple past tense of overtake.



verb (used with object), o·ver·took, o·ver·tak·en, o·ver·tak·ing.

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), o·ver·took, o·ver·tak·en, o·ver·tak·ing.

to pass another vehicle: Never overtake on a curve.

Origin of overtake

1175–1225; Middle English overtaken; see over-, take
Related formsun·o·ver·tak·en, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overtook

Contemporary Examples of overtook

Historical Examples of overtook

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for overtook


verb -takes, -taking, -took or -taken

mainly British to move past (another vehicle or person) travelling in the same direction
(tr) to pass or do better than, after catching up with
(tr) to come upon suddenly or unexpectedlynight overtook him
(tr) 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

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