Definition of overwhelm in English:

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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.
swamp, submerge, engulf, bury, deluge, flood, inundate
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.

Words that rhyme with overwhelm

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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: o·ver·whelm

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