Definition of


  1. (noun, act) an improbable and unexpected victory
  2. (noun, act) the act of upsetting something
  3. (verb, change) change radically
  4. (verb, cognition) rule against
  5. (verb, communication) cancel officially
    lift an embargo
    vacate a death sentence
  6. (verb, motion) turn from an upright or normal position
    The canoe tumped over
  7. (verb, motion) cause to overturn from an upright or normal position
    the clumsy customer turned over the vase
    he tumped over his beer
  8. (verb, social) cause the downfall of; of rulers
    subvert the ruling class

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Overturn

  1. early 13c., of a wheel, "to rotate, roll over," from over + turn (v.). Attested from c.1300 in general trans. sense "to throw over violently;" fig. meaning "to ruin, destroy" is from late 14c. Of judicial decisions, "to reverse," it is attested from 1969. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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Eminence Grise

(French) a person who exercises power or influence in certain areas without holding an official position