Definition of overrun in English:

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Pronunciation: /əʊvəˈrʌn/
(overruns, overrunning; past overran; past participle overrun)
1 [with object] Spread 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, 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
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: Rufus 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, go over, last longer than, overshoot, 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.
2 [no object] Continue beyond or above an expected or allowed time or cost: he allowed the match to overrun by 2 minutes [with object]: 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: /ˈəʊvərʌn/
1An instance of something exceeding an expected or allowed time or cost: the cost overrun caused the company’s share price to fall
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.
2 [mass noun] The movement or extension of something beyond an expected or allotted position: the system acts as a brake to prevent cable overrun [count noun]: the pilot thinks he is braking as hard as possible but has the risk of an 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.
2.1 [count noun] A clear area beyond the end of a runway: the aircraft crossed the overrun and rolled down an embankment
More 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.
3 [mass noun] The movement of a vehicle at a speed greater than is imparted by the engine: [as modifier]: the engines have overrun fuel cut-off
More 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

Line breaks: over|run

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