from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To cause to turn over; upset or flip over.
  • intransitive verb To cause to fall over; knock or topple over.
  • intransitive verb To ransack.
  • intransitive verb To cause the downfall, destruction, or ending of; overthrow or abolish. synonym: overthrow.
  • intransitive verb Law To invalidate or reverse (a decision) by legal means.
  • intransitive verb To turn over or capsize.
  • noun The act or process of overturning.
  • noun The state of having been overturned.
  • noun The periodic mixing or circulation of water in a lake or sea as a result of changing temperature of its layers.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To overset; upset; overthrow.
  • To subvert; ruin; destroy; bring to naught.
  • To overpower; conquer; overwhelm.
  • Synonyms Overturn, Overthrow, Subvert, Invert, upset, throw down, beat down, prostrate. The first three of the italicized words indicate violence and destructiveness. Invert is rarely used where the action is not careful and with a purpose: as, to invert a goblet to prevent its being filled. That which is overturned or overthrown is brought down from a standing or erect position to lie prostrate. Overthrow indicates more violence or energy than overturn, as throw is stronger than turn. That which is subverted is reached to the very bottom and goes to wreck in the turning: as, to subvert the very foundations of justice. To invert is primarily to turn upside down, but it may be used figuratively, of things not material, for turning wrong side before or reversing: as, to invert the order of a sentence. See defeat, v. t., and demolish.
  • To be overturned; capsize: as, a boat that is likely to overturn.
  • noun The state of being overturned or subverted; the act of overturning; overthrow.
  • noun Refrain; burden.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To turn or throw from a basis, foundation, or position; to overset.
  • transitive verb To subvert; to destroy; to overthrow.
  • transitive verb To overpower; to conquer.
  • noun The act off overturning, or the state of being overturned or subverted; overthrow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To turn over, capsize or upset (something)
  • verb To overthrow or destroy something
  • verb law To reverse a decision; to overrule or rescind

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb cause the downfall of; of rulers
  • verb cause to overturn from an upright or normal position
  • noun the act of upsetting something
  • noun an improbable and unexpected victory
  • verb rule against
  • verb cancel officially
  • verb change radically
  • verb turn from an upright or normal position


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

over- +‎ turn


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word overturn.


  • (The dissent did not address this issue, as the dissenting justices would have granted relief on the Miranda claim.) Interestingly enough, because today’s decision was 5 – 4, if one ignores Berghuis v. Thompkins, the Sixth Circuit appears to be more of an outlier, as the combined vote to overturn is habeas decisions would be33 – 3.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Is the Sixth Circuit the New Ninth (At Least in Habeas Cases)? 2010

  • I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Obama and the Democrats (sounds like a bad Afghani doo-wop band) push the healthcare issue to the supreme court in an attempt to "overturn" the laws of economics and supply and demand.

    2 key Republican senators to oppose Sotomayor for high court 2009

  • How exactly does a President "overturn" the Supreme Court's holdings in Roe/Casey?

    Balkinization 2007

  • Bush rushed to judgment in 2000 based on incomplete results and the media immediately started treating him like the victor and Democratic efforts to count all the votes as efforts to "overturn" the election.

    Dems Confident in MT, VA Senate Outcomes 2009

  • Ciaran - my understanding of the original construction philosophy is that it does not seek "overturn" x, y or z legislative acts.

    GOP Convention Day 1: Time to come home Burke's Corner 2008

  • And there would have to be a very heavy burden on the superdelegates collectively who have not decided to kind of overturn the will of the people.

    CNN Transcript Feb 28, 2008 2008

  • On the other hand the room was silent on Fiorina's admission that she would "overturn" the

    Reason Magazine 2010

  • Pro-choice Gergen knows that framing a question on abortion that includes the word "overturn" is the best way to assure a strong majority against.

    American Thinker 2010

  • Pro-choice Gergen knows that framing a question on abortion that includes the word "overturn" is the best way to assure a strong majority against.

    American Thinker 2010

  • Rwanda's Lake Kivu is one of the world's three "exploding lakes" and is at serious risk of "overturn," a process whereby huge amounts of carbon dioxide are released from under its surface, suffocating everyone in the surrounding areas.

    "MAIN" via Steve in Google Reader Jenara Nerenberg - Fast Company 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Here were the outlines of grand political overturns, the filling up of which I was left to imagine at my leisure.

    - Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, ch. 27

    September 9, 2008