tr.v. o·ver·took (-tk), o·ver·tak·en (-tākən), o·ver·tak·ing, o·ver·takes
a. To catch up with; draw even or level with.
b. To pass after catching up with.
2. To come upon unexpectedly; take by surprise: geopolitical strategists who were overtaken by events in southeast Asia.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.