To overhaul is to completely renovate, making major changes in order to repair. A few shutters and a new coat of paint won't come close to fixing that old, boarded-up house — it needs a complete overhaul.

Back in the 1620s when the word was coined, overhaul described examining a fishing net to make sure there were no tears or big holes that would keep the fisherman from getting a big haul, or large amount of fish. Today, an overhaul is usually the result of such a close examination — like the overhaul that some people want to make to American public schools, or the overhaul an old car needs to keep it on the road.

Definitions of overhaul
  1. verb
    make repairs, renovations, revisions or adjustments to
    “You should overhaul your car engine”
    overhaul the health care system”
    synonyms: modernise, modernize
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    substitute new or modernized parts or equipment for older ones
    type of:
    regenerate, renew
    reestablish on a new, usually improved, basis or make new or like new
  2. noun
    the act of improving by renewing and restoring
    “a major overhaul of the healthcare system was proposed”
    synonyms: redevelopment, renovation
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    face lift, face lifting, facelift
    a renovation that improves the outward appearance (as of a building) but usually does not involve major changes
    type of:
    the act of improving something
  3. noun
    periodic maintenance on a car or machine
    “it was time for an overhaul on the tractor”
    synonyms: inspection and repair, service
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    interim overhaul
    an overhaul between the regular times for overhauling
    type of:
    care, maintenance, upkeep
    activity involved in maintaining something in good working order
  4. verb
    travel past
    synonyms: overtake, pass
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    get by
    pass or move in front of
    clear, top
    pass by, over, or under without making contact
    jump across
    type of:
    advance, go on, march on, move on, pass on, progress
    move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
Word Family

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