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
- 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet, Ch. 4:
- By and by fumes of brandy began to fill the air, and climb to where I lay, overcoming the mouldy smell of decayed wood and the dampness of the green walls.
- 1960 December, Cecil J. Allen, “Operating a mountain main line: the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon: Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, page 743:
- In the early days troubles were experienced with oscillation from the rod drive and with the transformers, but were overcome later, and these machines performed useful service until superseded by more modern locomotives less costly in maintenance.
- (transitive) To recover from (a difficulty), to get over
- (transitive) To win or prevail in some sort of battle, contest, etc.
- 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, “iij”, in Le Morte Darthur, book IV:
- Ther with all cam kyng Arthur but with a fewe peple and slewe on the lyfte hand and on the ryght hand that wel nyhe ther escaped no man / but alle were slayne to the nombre of xxx M / And whan the bataille was all ended the kynge kneled doune and thanked god mekely / and thenne he sente for the quene and soone she was come / and she maade grete Ioye of the ouercomynge of that bataille
- (please add an English translation of this quote)
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: […] [John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book II, canto XII, stanza 31, pages 370–371:
- They were faire Ladies, till they fondly ſtriu’d / With th’Heliconian maides for mayſtery; / Of whom they ouer-comen, were depriu’d / Of their proud beautie, and th’one moyity / Transform’d to fiſh, for their bold ſurquedry, / But th’vpper halfe their hew retayned ſtill, / And their ſweet skill in wonted melody; / Which euer after they abuſd to ill, / T’allure weake traueillers, whom gotten they did kill.
- 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter II, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
- 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.
- To come or pass over; to spread over.
- I was overcome with anger.
- (obsolete) To overflow; to surcharge.
- 1708, John Philips, Cyder, London: J. Tonson:
- Th' unfallow'd Glebe Yearly o'ercomes the Granaries with Store Of Golden Wheat.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
overcome (plural overcomes)
- “overcome” in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- “overcome” in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.