overcome
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /ˌəʊvəˈkʌm/
  • (America) IPA: /ˌoʊvəɹˈkʌm/
Verb

overcome (overcomes, present participle overcoming; past overcame, past participle overcome)

  1. (transitive) To surmount (a physical or abstract obstacle); to prevail over, to get the better of.
    to overcome enemies in battle
    • This wretched woman overcome / Of anguish, rather than of crime, hath been.
    • 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.
  2. (transitive) To win or prevail in some sort of battle, contest, etc.
    We shall overcome.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/MaloryWks2/1:6.3?rgn=div2;view=fulltext chapter 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
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by 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.
  3. To come or pass over; to spread over.
    I was overcome with anger.
    • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene iv]:
      And overcome us like a summer's cloud.
  4. To overflow; to surcharge.
Translations Translations Noun

overcome (plural overcomes)

  1. (Scotland) The burden or recurring theme in a song.
  2. (Scotland) A surplus.



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