- 1 [transitive] overtake somebody/something to become greater in number, amount, or importance than something else synonym outstrip Nuclear energy may overtake oil as the main fuel. We must not let ourselves be overtaken by our competitors. Quinine has been overtaken by newer drugs.
- 2 [transitive, often passive] overtake somebody/something if something unpleasant overtakes a person, it unexpectedly starts to happen and to affect them The climbers were overtaken by bad weather. Sudden panic overtook her. Our original plan was overtaken by events (= the situation changed very rapidly) and we had to make a new one.
- 3 [transitive, intransitive] overtake (somebody/something) to go past a moving vehicle or person ahead of you because you are going faster than they are He pulled out to overtake a truck. It's dangerous to overtake on a curve.
NAmE//ˌoʊvərˈteɪk//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they overtake
he / she / it overtakes
past simple overtook
past participle overtaken
-ing form overtaking