1. simple past tense of overtake.

verb (used with object), o·ver·took, o·ver·tak·en, o·ver·tak·ing.

  1. 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.
  2. to catch up with and pass, as in a race; move by: He overtook the leader three laps from the finish.
  3. to move ahead of in achievement, production, score, etc.; surpass: to overtake all other countries in steel production.
  4. 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.

  1. to pass another vehicle: Never overtake on a curve.

verb -takes, -taking, -took or -taken

  1. mainly British to move past (another vehicle or person) travelling in the same direction
  2. (tr) to pass or do better than, after catching up with
  3. (tr) to come upon suddenly or unexpectedlynight overtook him
  4. (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.”

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