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o·ver·take / ˌōvərˈtāk/ • v. (past -took; past part. -tak·en) [tr.] 1. catch up with and pass while traveling in the same direction: the driver overtook a line of vehicles. ∎  become greater or more successful than: Germany rapidly overtook Britain in industrial output.2. (esp. of misfortune) come suddenly or unexpectedly upon: the pattern of economic ruin overtook them. ∎  (of a feeling) affect (someone) suddenly and powerfully: weariness overtook him and he retired to bed.