Definition of engulf in English:


Line breaks: en¦gulf
Pronunciation: /ɪnˈgʌlf
, ɛn-/


[with object]
  • 1(Of a natural force) sweep over (something) so as to surround or cover it completely: the cafe was engulfed in flames figurative Europe might be engulfed by war
    More example sentences
    • Are these a coincidence, or has an evil force engulfed the town?
    • Consider the unprecedented scenes of anarchy and chaos that engulfed Britain last Monday night.
    • However, the country was soon engulfed in a bloody civil war in which one million people lost their lives out of a population of 14 million.
  • 2Powerfully affect (someone); overwhelm: a feeling of anguish so great that it threatened to engulf him
    More example sentences
    • A deep, overwhelming wave of emotion engulfed me, and I felt tears well in my eyes.
    • Overwhelming relief and joy engulfed Jason upon seeing her and he took a step forward.
    • He recalled how just the sight of his daughter in the early years had brought his grief flooding to the surface where it had threatened to engulf him.



More example sentences
  • Children who did well understood that they were not responsible for their parents and were able to avoid engulfment in their illness.
  • It sounds like your underlying fears of rejection and engulfment are controlling your life and not letting you share love.
  • These animals possess effective defense systems against microbes and parasites which involve engulfment of bacteria into specific cells.


mid 16th century (formerly also as ingulf): from en-1, in-2 'in, on' + gulf.

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