Definition of overwhelm in English:


Syllabification: o·ver·whelm
Pronunciation: /ˌōvərˈ(h)welm


[with object]
  • 1Bury or drown beneath a huge mass: the water flowed through to overwhelm the whole dam and the village beneath
    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.
  • 1.1Defeat completely: his teams overwhelmed their opponents
    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.
    defeat (utterly/heavily), trounce, rout, beat (hollow), conquer, vanquish, be victorious over, triumph over, worst, overcome, overthrow, crush
    informal thrash, steamroller, lick, best, massacre, clobber, wipe the floor with
  • 1.2Give too much of a thing to (someone); 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.
  • 1.3 (usually be overwhelmed) Have 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, strike, dumbfound, shake, devastate, floor, leave speechless
    informal bowl over, snow under
  • 1.4Be too strong for; overpower: the wine doesn’t overwhelm the flavor 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.

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