Definition of overrun in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈōvərˌrən/
(overruns, overrunning; past overran; past participle overrun) [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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • A wicked mayor plans to overrun the town with rats, close the local primary school and convert it into loft apartments.
  • The site was overrun by rats which is why they brought the rifle.
invade, storm, occupy, swarm into, surge into, inundate, overwhelm
1.1Move or extend over or beyond: let the text overrun the right-hand margin
More example sentences
  • Duncan added footnotes to ballet: extending the disciplinary boundaries of dance, overrunning the text of femininity and overstepping the marks made by pointe shoes.
  • 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.
  • The believer can also fail by overrunning the boundary of Personal Love.
1.2Run over or beyond (a thing or place): she overran third base
More example sentences
  • Alan Quinlan overran the ball but Dowling was there to pounce on the loose ball and claim the try.
  • Holt burst into Ilkley's box and appeared to overrun the ball beyond the dead ball line by a yard and a half.
exceed, go beyond/over, run over
1.3Rotate faster than (another part of a machine): (as adjective overrunning) an overrunning clutch
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Thus, any desired degree of braking restriction can be imposed upon the overrunning motor.
2Continue beyond or above (an expected or allowed time or cost): he mustn’t overrun his budget
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Later on we learned that Cornelius had been allowed to overrun by an hour, curfew be damned.
  • 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.


Pronunciation: /ˈōvərˌrən/
1An instance of something exceeding an expected or allowed time or cost: an unexpectedly large cost overrun in the program
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • But their glitzy weapons often produce cost overruns, delays, and technical glitches.
  • Owner and contractor may split any savings or cost overruns beyond the dead band according to a predetermined percentage.
2The movement or extension of something beyond an allotted or particular position or space: the system acts as a brake to prevent cable overrun
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
2.1A clear area beyond the end of an airport runway.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • Interim glowing takes place when necessary, for example after extended overrun if engine temperature has reduced.
  • This system can also contribute to fuel saving by permitting regeneration at opportune times such as when the vehicle is on overrun.


Old English oferyrnan (see over-, run).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: o·ver·run

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