Definition of overrun in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Spread over or occupy (a place) in large numbers.

    ‘the Mediterranean has been overrun by tourists’
    ‘the northern frontier was overrun by invaders’
    • ‘If by some amazing circumstances you were completely oblivious to the fact that international superstars have overrun our city for the past two weeks, you probably missed out on some great shows.’
    • ‘The plot of land on a passageway was overrun with nettles and has not been touched for more than 20 years.’
    • ‘Thier numbers need to be humanely controlled or else they would overrun the place.’
    • ‘When 90 kids overran the tiny space his first month in business, he knew he was on to something.’
    • ‘It moves at the rate of 800 ft to 1000 ft a year and during the 18th century overran cultivated fields and threatened to engulf communities.’
    • ‘When we visited Tobermory last summer, the place was overrun by 3-7 year olds wearing pink and following in the footsteps of their heroes.’
    • ‘The site was overrun by rats which is why they brought the rifle.’
    • ‘The aftermath of the war also means that the city isn't overrun by tourists and there are few places selling tacky souvenirs at inflated prices.’
    • ‘So then, after a very wet winter, or something, there were mice overrunning the craft room where I plied my trade as community craft-worker person.’
    • ‘Second, the staff enforces a laissez-faire attitude among the other patrons so that the place isn't overrun by autograph-seekers.’
    • ‘Unlike many pretty spots on the California coast, Baywood Park isn't overrun with tourists.’
    • ‘But the place was overrun by rodents, there was no need to harass birds.’
    • ‘It's a pleasant market town that trades on its literary connections as cannily as you might expect, but the tourists did not appear to have overrun the place when I paid my early summer visit.’
    • ‘I just have this image in my head of a quiet suburban street being overrun by Aliens loping on all fours over the tarmac.’
    • ‘A wicked mayor plans to overrun the town with rats, close the local primary school and convert it into loft apartments.’
    • ‘By the time he got there the place was overrun with seniors and juniors, and even a few college kids he'd known from the previous school year.’
    • ‘Easier for many to manage smaller parcels of land, especially when engaged in continual battle with the wilderness that threatened to overrun their farms and their lives.’
    • ‘One example is where Sunny Beach meets neighbouring Sveti Vlas, a village almost overrun by new building.’
    • ‘Do you like to see a lot of people coming in from the city and overrunning the place here?’
    • ‘But, if the city was overrun by criminals, the media failed to capture the full force of the anarchy with pictures and that is curious.’
    invade, storm, march into, occupy, infest, swarm over, surge over, flow over, inundate, swamp, overwhelm, permeate, penetrate, spread over, spread like wildfire over, run riot over, overgrow, grow over
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    1. 1.1 Move or extend over or beyond.
      ‘let the text overrun the right-hand margin’
      • ‘Councillors also threw their support behind the Osbaldwick number six bus route, even though villagers claim it is hardly used, and some buses are overrunning pavements on narrow roads.’
      • ‘Duncan added footnotes to ballet: extending the disciplinary boundaries of dance, overrunning the text of femininity and overstepping the marks made by pointe shoes.’
      • ‘The fire department was dispatched to a controlled grass fire that had overrun its boundaries and was threatening the neighbour's field.’
      • ‘The believer can also fail by overrunning the boundary of Personal Love.’
    2. 1.2 Run over or beyond (a thing or place)
      ‘she overran third base’
      • ‘Holt burst into Ilkley's box and appeared to overrun the ball beyond the dead ball line by a yard and a half.’
      • ‘Alan Quinlan overran the ball but Dowling was there to pounce on the loose ball and claim the try.’
      exceed, go beyond, go over, last longer than, overshoot, run over
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Rotate faster than (another part of a machine)
      ‘an overrunning clutch’
      • ‘Thus, any desired degree of braking restriction can be imposed upon the overrunning motor.’
      • ‘The sprag clutch, in turn, allows the electric motor to overrun the engine when its power is not being utilized.’
      • ‘An overrunning clutch transmits torque in one direction only and permits the driven shaft of a machine to freewheel, or keep on rotating when the driver is stopped.’
  • 2Continue beyond or above an expected or allowed time or cost.

    ‘he mustn't overrun his budget’
    • ‘The Public Accounts Committee has found that the Forestry Services computer system overran in budget because this division was decentralised to Wexford and it lost all its IT staff.’
    • ‘The budget overran by 1.36 bn, and it lacks ‘stealth’ capabilities.’
    • ‘Later on we learned that Cornelius had been allowed to overrun by an hour, curfew be damned.’
    • ‘With Scottish elections due next year and the devolved parliament already under fire for costs overrunning on its new building, that would be a severe blow to devolution.’
    • ‘The finance minister insisted it was a myth that major projects such as the building of Dublin's port tunnel habitually overran to the cost of several hundred million euros.’
    • ‘It should be the customer who dictates what happens, because if an important meeting overruns they don't want to miss their flight.’
    • ‘If the previous programme overruns, the machine will delay recording; you can also set it to save a whole series.’
    • ‘‘When the cost of projects overrun there are only two possible results.’’
    • ‘My father was particularly proud of an occasion when he overran by several minutes and his audience stayed.’
    • ‘She enjoyed her visit so much it overran by more than 20 minutes.’
    • ‘It's still disappointing that they are taking so long and overrunning on jobs when they must appreciate the congestion and damage it's causing to the town centre.’
    • ‘The software helps solve problems that cause technology projects to fail or overrun on cost.’
    • ‘To Tand's amusement, Tanj had taken a nap; a nap that had extended through lunch and was threatening to overrun dinner…’
    • ‘There should be a system whereby if roadworks overrun then the company responsible should be fined.’
    • ‘Projects often overrun and costs follow suit, but there is rarely much scope to raise income to offset the damage.’
    • ‘Downing Street postponed the appointment from Monday following a delay in the Prime Minister's schedule after talks in Northern Ireland overran.’


  • 1An instance of something exceeding an expected or allowed time or cost.

    ‘an unexpectedly large cost overrun in the program’
    • ‘Judging from previous cost overruns, we're inclined to believe him.’
    • ‘Check the cost and time overruns for flyover constructions.’
    • ‘If you adjust for inflation and add in the usual cost overruns that means we're looking at a price tag of around a trillion bucks or so.’
    • ‘If we are talking about massive cost overruns we are presumably talking about massive cuts to the plan.’
    • ‘It stated that several other managers also failed to stop the cost overruns even when there were indications of this before and early into the project.’
    • ‘The plan, which would have seen the province guaranteeing payment of all cost overruns, deserved to be sunk as it was, though not for the reasons behind its rejection.’
    • ‘The investigation into the frustrating delays and horrendous cost overruns associated with the new £400m - and rising - parliament building at Holyrood has been a compelling spectacle.’
    • ‘However, it quickly became mired in bureaucracy and cost overruns that have slowed its construction and made its completion date uncertain.’
    • ‘The ships would be cheaper to build overseas and the company wouldn't have to absorb risks and potential cost overruns.’
    • ‘Owner and contractor may split any savings or cost overruns beyond the dead band according to a predetermined percentage.’
    • ‘Six days later the health board announced that because of cost overruns clinical and support staff were to be sacked.’
    • ‘We want to make sure that those costs are clearly identified, because there is nothing worse than cost overruns when it comes to the client.’
    • ‘In addition, we wish to discuss our costs overruns with yourselves and the client at your earliest convenience, in hopes of coming to some settlement that is fair to all parties.’
    • ‘This is worrisome for taxpayers since it will be a new learning experience for the government and this normally means cost overruns.’
    • ‘The country will gain by avoiding another budget overrun and above all reaching the HIPC completion point by June.’
    • ‘The issue arose in delegations due to rumors that the town was planning to raise taxes to pay for cost overruns on the recreation centre projects.’
    • ‘While the building has made headlines for its cost overruns, it is a little shocking to think that some money couldn't be spent on local artisans.’
    • ‘But their glitzy weapons often produce cost overruns, delays, and technical glitches.’
    • ‘He said he also could not say if there was a cost overrun on the Mason Hall project, since that was an issue between the owner, contractor and sub-contractor.’
    • ‘Why do we keep hearing about cost overruns within defence purchasing?’
  • 2The movement or extension of something beyond an allotted or particular position or space.

    ‘the system acts as a brake to prevent cable overrun’
    • ‘I recently witnessed a situation where a cable retrieve had just finished and a slight cable overrun had occurred, leaving a single strand over the side of the drum.’
    • ‘It features a durable base tray for storage of a stage box, an ergonomic carrying handle, and an adjustable friction brake to prevent cable overrun.’
    1. 2.1 A clear area beyond the end of an airport runway.
      • ‘As I approached the runway overrun, I started easing the power back and touched down on speed 300 feet down the runway.’
      • ‘My pilot finally figured out that the arresting gear was for overruns only, so we decided to skip the arrested landing and concentrate on finding the runway.’
  • 3The movement of a vehicle at a speed greater than is imparted by the engine.

    • ‘This system can also contribute to fuel saving by permitting regeneration at opportune times such as when the vehicle is on overrun.’
    • ‘Interim glowing takes place when necessary, for example after extended overrun if engine temperature has reduced.’


Old English oferyrnan (see over-, run).