From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English overturnen, equivalent to over- +‎ turn. Compare also Middle English overterven (to overturn), see terve.


  • (verb) IPA(key): /ˌəʊvə(ɹ)ˈtɜː(ɹ)n/
  • (file)
  • (noun) IPA(key): /ˈəʊvə(ɹ)ˌtɜː(ɹ)n/
  • (file)


overturn (third-person singular simple present overturns, present participle overturning, simple past and past participle overturned)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To turn over, capsize or upset.
    • 1962 October, “Talking of Trains: The collisions at Connington”, in Modern Railways, page 232:
      About three or four minutes later still an express freight on the up main line ran into the wreckage at about 35 m.p.h. Its engine also overturned and 15 more wagons were added to the mounting pile of wreckage.
    • 2021 December 29, Dominique Louis, “Causal analysis: crashworthiness at Sandilands”, in RAIL, number 947, page 33:
      We also found that the only emergency egress from the tram was by smashing the front or rear windscreens, and that emergency lighting had failed when the tram overturned.
  2. (transitive) To overthrow or destroy.
  3. (law, transitive) To reverse (a decision); to overrule or rescind.
    • 2023 January 22, Matthew Weaver, “Ghislaine Maxwell calls Prince Andrew photo with Virginia Giuffre ‘a fake’”, in The Guardian[1]:
      In a report for the Sun on Sunday, Barak claimed that Andrew is consulting lawyers about overturning that settlement.
  4. (transitive) To diminish the significance of a previous defeat by winning; to make a comeback from.
    • 2017 March 14, Stuart James, “Leicester stun Sevilla to reach last eight after Kasper Schmeichel save”, in the Guardian[2]:
      There were so many heroes for Leicester on an evening when they played with tremendous courage and belief to overturn the 2-1 deficit from the first leg, yet it was hard to look beyond Kasper Schmeichel for the game’s outstanding performer.
    • 2011 April 10, Alistair Magowan, “Aston Villa 1 - 0 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      Villa spent most of the second period probing from wide areas and had a succession of corners but despite their profligacy they will be glad to overturn the 6-0 hammering they suffered at St James' Park in August following former boss Martin O'Neill's departure
  5. (intransitive) Of a body of water: to undergo a limnic eruption, where dissolved gas suddenly erupts from the depths.



overturn (plural overturns)

  1. A turning over or upside-down; inversion.
  2. The overturning or overthrow of some institution or state of affairs; ruin.