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Overwrite vs. Override: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
"Overwrite" means to replace existing data or content with new data, while "Override" refers to superseding or bypassing existing rules, functions, or decisions.
Overwrite vs. Override

Key Differences

"Overwrite" implies the act of writing over something already existing, essentially replacing it. "Override" involves bypassing or taking precedence over something already in place.
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Nov 20, 2023
In computing, "overwrite" happens when new data replaces old data on storage media. "Override" in programming refers to a method that replaces a method in a superclass.
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Nov 20, 2023
"Overwrite" is often used in the context of file storage, where saving a file again replaces the old version. "Override" can refer to ignoring or invalidating previous commands or settings.
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Nov 20, 2023
The action of "overwriting" can lead to loss of original data if not backed up. "Override" often provides a mechanism to change default behavior or settings.
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Nov 20, 2023
"Overwrite" may be unintentional, resulting in data loss. In contrast, "override" is usually a deliberate action to change how a system operates.
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Nov 20, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Basic Definition

Replace existing content with new
Supersede or bypass existing rules or functions
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Contexts of Use

Data storage, file editing
Programming, system settings
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Impact on Original Data

Erases or replaces original data
Leaves original but bypasses its function
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Intentionality

Can be accidental or intentional
Generally a deliberate action
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Outcome

Results in loss of previous version
Alters behavior without erasing the original
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Overwrite and Override Definitions

Overwrite

To write over and replace existing content.
I accidentally overwrote the report with an older version.
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Nov 20, 2023

Override

Changing system behavior from default.
The technician overrode the automatic shutdown feature.
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Nov 20, 2023

Overwrite

Replacing old data with new on a storage medium.
The software update overwrites the old files.
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Nov 20, 2023

Override

To ride across.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

Erasing previous data by writing new data.
Overwriting the disk will erase all its contents.
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Nov 20, 2023
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Override

To ride beyond.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

To record or copy over something.
He overwrote the video with new footage.
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Nov 20, 2023

Override

To trample on.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

Superseding previous content in writing or editing.
The editor overwrote the original text with revisions.
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Nov 20, 2023

Override

To ride (a horse) too hard.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

To cover (something) with writing.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To prevail over; conquer
Budgetary concerns overrode all other considerations.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

To write about in an artificial or an excessively elaborate, wordy style.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To declare null and void; set aside
Overrode the president's veto.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

To destroy or lose (old data) by recording new data over it
Accidentally overwrote an important document.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To counteract the normal operation of (an automatic control).
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

To record (new data) on top of already stored data, thus destroying the old data
Overwrote an updated document on top of an earlier draft.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To extend over; overlap.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

To write artificial, excessively elaborate, or wordy prose.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

A sales commission collected by an executive in addition to the commission received by a subordinate salesperson.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

To destroy (older) data by recording new data over it.
I accidentally saved my unwanted changes and overwrote the version of the document I wanted to keep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

See royalty.
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Overwrite

(transitive) To cover in writing; to write over the top of.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

A mechanism or system used to counteract an automatic control.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

(ambitransitive) To write too much.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

The act or an instance of nullifying.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

(ambitransitive) To write in an unnecessarily complicated or florid way; to produce purple prose.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To ride across or beyond something.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

(computing) The operation of destroying older data by recording new data over it.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To ride over the top of something, usually forcibly.
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Oct 19, 2023

Overwrite

Write new data on top of existing data and thus erase the previously existing data;
Overwrite that file
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To ride a horse too hard.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To counteract the normal operation of something; to countermand with orders of higher priority.
Congress promptly overrode the president's veto, passing the bill into law.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To give commands of a higher priority to an automated system; to take manual control of an automated system
Manual controls allow the user to override the camera's default settings.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

(object-oriented) To define a new behaviour of a method by creating the same method of the superclass with the same name and signature.
How the cat runs is defined in the method run() of the class Cat, which overrides the same method with the same signature of superclass called Mammal.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

A mechanism, device or procedure used to counteract an automatic control.
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Override

A royalty.
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Override

A device for prioritizing audio signals, such that certain signals receive priority over others.
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Override

(object-oriented) A method with the same name and signature as a method in a superclass, which runs instead of that method, when an object of the subclass is involved.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To ride over or across; to ride upon; to trample down.
The carter overridden with [i. e., by] his cart.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To suppress; to destroy; to supersede; to annul; to nullify; as, one law overrides another; to override a veto.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To countermand; to overrule; as, a supervisor may override the decision of a subordinate.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To replace (one system with another); as, the pilot overrode the automatic pilot and took manual control of the airplane.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To ride beyond; to pass; to outride.
I overrode him on the way.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To ride too much; to ride, as a horse, beyond its strength.
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

A manually operated device to correct the operation of an automatic device
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

The act of nullifying; making null and void; counteracting or overriding the effect or force of something
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Override

Rule against;
The Republicans were overruled when the House voted on the bill
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Override

Prevail over;
Health considerations override financial concerns
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Override

Counteract the normal operation of (an automatic gear shift in a vehicle)
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Override

Ride (a horse) too hard
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Oct 19, 2023

Override

To supersede an existing rule or decision.
The manager's decision was overridden by the CEO.
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Nov 20, 2023

Override

In programming, replacing a method in a superclass.
The subclass method overrides the superclass method.
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Override

To bypass or ignore previous commands.
The new settings override the default configurations.
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Nov 20, 2023

Override

To use authority to change or cancel decisions.
The committee vote overrode the earlier resolution.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Does overwriting affect all file types?

Yes, any file type can be overwritten.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is overwriting a reversible process?

Typically not, unless backed up.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is overriding a decision common in business?

Yes, especially in hierarchical structures.
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Nov 20, 2023

Does overwriting save storage space?

It can, by replacing old files with new.
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Nov 20, 2023

Can override be used in legal contexts?

Yes, like overriding a previous ruling.
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Nov 20, 2023

Can override be used in programming?

Yes, it's common in object-oriented programming.
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Nov 20, 2023

Can you overwrite physical objects, or is it only used for digital data?

"Overwrite" is primarily used in the context of digital data and not for physical objects.
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Nov 20, 2023

Can overwritten files be recovered?

Often difficult, unless there's a backup.
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Nov 20, 2023

Can overwriting happen accidentally?

Yes, often due to user error.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is "overwrite" commonly used in computer terminology?

Yes, it is frequently used in the context of data storage and file management.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is override always intentional?

Generally, it’s a deliberate action.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is overwriting common in digital photography?

Yes, when saving new images over old ones.
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Nov 20, 2023

Can individuals override decisions or actions made by others?

In some cases, individuals can override decisions or actions, especially if they have the authority or control to do so.
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Nov 20, 2023

Does override require specific authority?

Often, especially in systems or organizational contexts.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is "override" a term commonly used in law or regulations?

Yes, it is often used in legal and regulatory contexts when one rule or authority supersedes another.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is "overwrite" reversible?

No, once data is overwritten, the original data is usually lost unless you have a backup.
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Nov 20, 2023

Is "override" only used in formal or technical settings?

No, "override" can be used in everyday language to describe situations where one thing takes precedence over another.
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Nov 20, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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