- simple past tense of overtake.
verb (used with object), o·ver·took, o·ver·tak·en, o·ver·tak·ing.
- to catch up with in traveling or pursuit; draw even with: By taking a cab to the next town, we managed to overtake and board the train.
- to catch up with and pass, as in a race; move by: He overtook the leader three laps from the finish.
- to move ahead of in achievement, production, score, etc.; surpass: to overtake all other countries in steel production.
- to happen to or befall someone suddenly or unexpectedly, as night, a storm, or death: The pounding rainstorm overtook them just outside the city.
verb (used without object), o·ver·took, o·ver·tak·en, o·ver·tak·ing.
- to pass another vehicle: Never overtake on a curve.
verb -takes, -taking, -took or -taken
- mainly British to move past (another vehicle or person) travelling in the same direction
- (tr) to pass or do better than, after catching up with
- (tr) to come upon suddenly or unexpectedlynight overtook him
- (tr) to catch up with; draw level with
v.“to come up to, to catch in pursuit,” early 13c., from over- + take (v.). According to OED, originally “the running down and catching of a fugitive or beast of chase”; it finds the sense of over- in this word “not so clear.” Related: Overtaken; overtaking. Old English had oferniman “to take away, carry off, seize, ravish.”