From Middle English overcomen, from Old English ofercuman (“to overcome, subdue, compel, conquer, obtain, attain, reach, overtake”), corresponding to over- + come. Cognate with Dutch overkomen (“to overcome”), German überkommen (“to overcome”), Danish overkomme (“to overcome”), Swedish överkomma (“to overcome”).
- (transitive) To surmount (a physical or abstract obstacle); to prevail over, to get the better of.
- to overcome enemies in battle
- (transitive, obsolete) To win (a battle).
- (intransitive) To win or prevail in some sort of battle, contest, etc.
- We shall overcome.
1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, The Mirror and the Lamp:
- That the young Mr. Churchills liked—but they did not like him coming round of an evening and drinking weak whisky-and-water while he held forth on railway debentures and corporation loans. Mr. Barrett, however, by fawning and flattery, seemed to be able to make not only Mrs. Churchill but everyone else do what he desired. And if the arts of humbleness failed him, he overcame you by sheer impudence.
- (transitive, usually in passive) To overwhelm with emotion.
- I was overcome with anger.
- To come or pass over; to spread over.
- And overcome us like a summer's cloud.
- To overflow; to surcharge.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of J. Philips to this entry?)
- overcome in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
- overcome in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913