Definition of overtake in English:



  • 1British Catch up with and pass while travelling in the same direction.

    ‘the driver overtook a line of vehicles’
    [no object] ‘he overtook in the face of oncoming traffic’
    • ‘Police are investigating the apparent road rage incident which is believed to have occurred after the bus overtook a line of stationary vehicles.’
    • ‘She noted the car overtaking her car was travelling at considerable speed and had commented to her husband: ‘God, he's flying.’’
    • ‘A driver attempted to overtake them but couldn't complete the move, and pulled towards their SUV.’
    • ‘The Vauxhall, travelling towards Bath, was overtaking a line of stationary vehicles looking to turn right.’
    • ‘It is thought a dark-coloured Vauxhall Corsa, travelling south, overtook a line of traffic headed by a container lorry.’
    • ‘It is a dark stretch of road and the driver who was overtaken may not have been aware of the accident behind.’
    • ‘Express bus drivers who don't overtake other buses, hence stopping unnecessarily at every stop.’
    • ‘That's the key to what we have to do, is we have to maintain the ability to pass and overtake.’
    • ‘After overtaking some cars the driver had tried to get back on the correct side of the road, but lost control and hit a Rover travelling out of Bradford, the inquest heard.’
    • ‘Sights like these become familiar after a few days in Pakistan, although it takes a little longer to get used to drivers overtaking the buses and everything else on blind bends with horns blaring.’
    • ‘He told the inquiry he was aware there was a vehicle, a Transit van, behind him which overtook the bus, passing by closely.’
    • ‘Then the driver of the car overtook the first car and tried to cross.’
    • ‘My driver then tries to overtake the truck at the same time.’
    • ‘The light overtook them, passed through the car and vanished - and Gill and his friend kept right on driving!’
    • ‘Take along some mint because the fast descent down the mountain might disturb even city folk, especially when the driver pulls out to overtake other cars on the narrow road.’
    • ‘Isn't it just so annoying when one lorry travelling at 60 mph tries to overtake another which is travelling at 58 mph?’
    • ‘Wait until it is safe to overtake, and then pass wide and slow.’
    • ‘Now, if a daring driver decides to overtake the bus in front, he runs into trouble in uniform.’
    • ‘The two drivers overtook a number of vehicles along the road and witness statements expressed concerns about the speed of the two sports cars.’
    • ‘The Focus had stopped when a vehicle, travelling in the opposite direction, overtook another vehicle, which had stopped so the driver could remove an obstruction from the road.’
    pass, get past, go past, go by, overhaul, get ahead of, pull ahead of, leave behind, outdistance, outstrip
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    1. 1.1Become greater or more successful than.
      ‘Germany rapidly overtook Britain in industrial output’
      • ‘Building construction is rapidly overtaking all other developmental activities.’
      • ‘But although he continued recording, his deep soul style was rapidly overtaken by funk and disco and, later, rap.’
      • ‘According to US tourism statistics, Britons have now overtaken the Japanese in terms of the numbers flying to New York.’
      • ‘After all the EU is rapidly overtaking the States as the pre-eminent economic superpower.’
      • ‘Later that year he presented the Report on Manufactures, an ambitious plan to overtake Britain in industrial output.’
      • ‘But just as the petrol engine overtook the trams and the telephone surpassed the telegraph, it now seems the mobile is set to conquer the landline.’
      • ‘Coffee has overtaken tea as the most popular drink outside the home.’
      • ‘Last year, asparagus overtook coffee as Peru's top export crop and accounted for roughly a quarter of the country's farm exports.’
      • ‘Tourism and family remittances have overtaken traditional exports as the country's prime earners.’
      • ‘Nobody in retailing underestimates the power of the card: its success undoubtedly helped Tesco to overtake Sainsbury as Britain's leading grocer.’
      • ‘The seven largest US biotechnology firms have overtaken the pharmaceutical industry's 9.1% rise.’
      • ‘Today, the fishing industry has overtaken the peanut sector as Senegal's No.1 foreign exchange earner.’
      • ‘And seafood recently overtook other agriculture as an export success story, bolstered by boasts of clean water and fresh air.’
      • ‘While chipping at the landing is still the principal means of comminution, bundling is growing rapidly and could easily overtake roadside chipping within a few years.’
      • ‘Tourism is doing pretty well in Mauritius, too, and is set to overtake sugar as the country's most important industry.’
      • ‘In recent years, low prices have devastated coffee farming in Rwanda, and tea exports have now overtaken coffee.’
      • ‘They are developing successful, job-creating, renewable energy industries and they have overtaken Australia.’
      • ‘He said the boom in China's economy had helped shipping overtake tourism.’
      • ‘The bad news is that the consumer PC market is rapidly approaching maturity, with renewals overtaking first-time purchases.’
      • ‘The team has managed to overtake last year's successes to receive commendation for every entry they submitted this year.’
      outstrip, surpass, overshadow, eclipse, outshine, outclass
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  • 2(especially of misfortune) come suddenly or unexpectedly upon.

    ‘disaster overtook the town in AD 296’
    • ‘The costs were massive and new procedures were often overtaken by events even before they were implemented.’
    • ‘The unprecedented economic boom has overtaken the entire infrastructure implemented by the city planners.’
    • ‘In this, time was an indispensable ally: dictators might die, crops fail, disaster overtake an expedition; it all helps, given time.’
    • ‘They planned to consider the matter again as soon as the report was finalised but were overtaken by events.’
    • ‘Even greater disasters overtook the once mighty empires of Spain and Portugal.’
    • ‘This is the evil that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all.’
    • ‘But events soon overtook the project, and the filmmakers end up recording history in the making.’
    • ‘At one point we saw the wreck of a train which was lying on its side with steam still escaping from the boiler, evidence that disaster had overtaken it not very long before.’
    • ‘Anything I say about that now is likely going to be overtaken by events within the next 48 hours.’
    • ‘Or was it a forecast of the deluge of disaster that has since overtaken the area and the country in the form of cold, heartless crime?’
    • ‘A Shandean fate overtook his body, which was taken by grave-robbers, recognized at an anatomy lecture in Cambridge, and secretly returned to its grave.’
    • ‘If there was an option of delinking from America it was never seriously exercised or was overtaken by events.’
    • ‘But archaeologists found themselves on the wrong side of history, overtaken by events that they tried hard to forestall.’
    • ‘Our April 13 statement has now been overtaken by events.’
    • ‘But in many ways the report has been overtaken by events.’
    • ‘She is concerned that, unless things change fairly rapidly, a similar fate will overtake her own premises.’
    • ‘Even such a disaster as had overtaken them at Kup caused no despondency among the Sikhs.’
    • ‘Whatever disaster overtook life on Earth at the end of the Permian killed off just about all of the temnospondyls in a fairly short space of time.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, as happens so often to columnists who monitor current affairs at the global level, events overtake the best of intentions.’
    • ‘With pure madness and natural disasters overtaking the entire planet, how could I believe that the Cayman Islands would remain unscathed?’
    1. 2.1(of a feeling) affect (someone) suddenly and powerfully.
      ‘weariness overtook him and he retired to bed’
      • ‘If I didn't, I feared panic would overtake me so badly that I really had no other choice but to try and go.’
      • ‘Whichever feeling overtakes you, it's likely to be associated with change.’
      • ‘Instead, we see his unvarnished, unpretty tears when anguish overtakes him.’
      • ‘I was suddenly overtaken by feelings of panic and fear.’
      • ‘You don't let frustration overtake you when you're looking for change.’
      • ‘A strange feeling overtook me and I shook my head, trying to clear these betraying thoughts.’
      • ‘This year a general mood of depression has overtaken people whose lives depend on agriculture.’
      • ‘A feeling of peacefulness overtook her and, for once, she forgot the recent tragedies.’
      • ‘Angst has overtaken him, he says of his year on tour.’
      • ‘When curiosity overtakes me, I scoop the parcel into a glass and prudently cover it with a dinner plate.’
      • ‘A heady rush of feelings and pleasures overtook her.’
      • ‘Confusion and doubt overtook him, and in his despair he ran up astronomical charges on 1-900 help lines.’
      • ‘I felt my eyes widened, grief overtaking me while anger was slowly creeping up into my feelings.’
      • ‘But even before he manages to draw out his weapon, panic overtakes him and he flees to a small tailor shop next door.’
      • ‘When one of these moods overtook her, she became unmanageable.’
      • ‘Before he could make sense of the hieroglyphs, a heavy feeling overtook him as his meal worked through his limbs.’
      • ‘Curiosity overtaking her, she started to move towards the mysterious person and at the two rapid paces, arrived at one another unusually quickly.’
      • ‘No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.’
      • ‘A sudden feeling of loss overtook Peter with surprising speed.’
      • ‘Then his sadness and sorrow overtook him and he fell to his knees again by Rivta's side, crying.’
      befall, happen to, come upon, hit, strike, fall on, overwhelm, overpower, overcome, be visited on, engulf, sweep over, take by surprise, surprise, catch unawares, catch unprepared, catch off guard
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