Definition of overwhelm in English:

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Pronunciation: /əʊvəˈwɛlm/


[with object]
1Bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water: floodwaters overwhelmed hundreds of houses
More example sentences
  • There are fears Hurricane Katrina could be just as deadly if it breaks New Orleans' levees and overwhelms the city's water and sewage systems.
  • He reminds us that He will be with us and that the water will not overwhelm us, He will intervene and deliver us.
  • Peter is surely talking of the total world system in each case: the water overwhelmed it last time, the fire will consume it next time.
swamp, submerge, engulf, bury, deluge, flood, inundate;
clog, saturate, glut, overload, beset, overburden, snow under
1.1Give too much of something to; inundate: they were overwhelmed by farewell messages
More example sentences
  • Lisa, on the other hand, will be overwhelmed by sources, inundated by a fairly noisy background.
  • This would seem to be from someone in an interesting state of mind, or perhaps someone who wants the e-mail address given in the message to be overwhelmed with traffic.
  • But once the messages descend I remain overwhelmed by the avalanche of letters, information, bulletins and, of course, junk email.
2Have a strong emotional effect on: I was overwhelmed with guilt
More example sentences
  • Both the mothers flinched at the coldness in his voice, and Mrs. Trousdale was suddenly overwhelmed with guilt.
  • On her way, Mark came rushing into the office and wrapping his arms around Angela, who, suddenly overwhelmed with emotion broke down.
  • The survivor may be overwhelmed by confusing emotions - fear, grief, guilt, shame, rage.
overcome, move, stir, affect, touch, impress, sweep someone off their feet, strike, stun, make emotional, dumbfound, shake, disturb, devastate, take aback, daze, spellbind, dazzle, floor, leave speechless, take someone's breath away, stagger
informal bowl over, blow away, knock/hit for six, knock sideways, blow someone's mind, get to
3Defeat completely: [with object and complement]: the Irish side was overwhelmed 15-3 by Scotland
More example sentences
  • Last year's conquering village were overwhelmed by a team with the kind of attitude a county manager would kill for.
  • This also needs to work because the Falcons' defense, though improved from last year, still isn't good enough to overwhelm opponents.
  • Played in Direen, the Spa novice team was overwhelmed by a much better Rathmore side in the East Kerry Novice Championship Final.
best, worst, gain mastery over, master, overpower, overcome, overthrow, subdue, suppress, subjugate, repress, quell, quash, crush, finish, bring someone to their knees, break
informal thrash, lick, clobber, whip, wipe the floor with, drub, tank, blow out of the water
US informal own
3.1Be too strong for; overpower: the Stilton doesn’t overwhelm the flavour of the trout
More example sentences
  • The abundance of rich, hot flavours can overwhelm the wine.
  • They were also very liberal with the basil, which might appeal to you if you're a huge fan of the stuff, though I myself found the strong taste overwhelmed the other flavours.
  • Always add smaller amounts of stronger components to avoid overwhelming the other flavors.

Words that rhyme with overwhelm

antebellum, cerebellum, elm, helm, pelham, realm, underwhelm, vellum

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: over|whelm

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