Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb over·flow \ˌō-vər-ˈflō\

Simple Definition of overflow

  • : to flow over the edge or top of (something)

  • : to fill or cover (something) completely

  • : to be completely filled with something : to be so filled that there is not enough room for anything or anyone more

Full Definition of overflow

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to cover with or as if with water :  inundate

  3. 2 :  to flow over the brim of

  4. 3 :  to cause to overflow

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to flow over bounds

  7. 2 :  to fill a space to capacity and spread beyond its limits <the crowd overflowed into the street>

Examples of overflow

  1. The river overflowed its banks.

  2. The creek overflows every spring.

  3. The water in the tub overflowed.

  4. Books and papers overflowed his desk.

  5. The paragraph overflowed the page.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of overflow

before 12th century

Rhymes with overflow

acid snow, afterglow, aikido, alpenglow, apropos, art deco, art nouveau, audio, Baguio, Bamako, barrio, bay window, Bergamo, bibelot, Bilbao, black widow, blow-by-blow, body blow, bone marrow, bordereau, Borneo, bow window, buffalo, Buffalo, bungalow, Bushido, buteo, calico, cameo, cachalot, cembalo, centimo, CEO, chassepot, cheerio, Clemenceau, cogito, comedo, comme il faut, counterflow, Cupid's bow, curaçao, Curaçao, curassow, curio, daimyo, danio, Delano, Diderot, do-si-do, domino, dynamo, embryo, entrepôt, Erato, escargot, Eskimo, extrados, fabliau, folio, French window, fricandeau, furbelow, gigolo, golden glow, go-no-go, grass widow, guacharo, hammer throw, hammertoe, haricot, heel-and-toe, hetero, high and low, HMO, Holy Joe, horror show, Idaho, in a row, indigo, in escrow, in the know, Jericho, kakapo, latigo, little toe, long-ago, Longfellow, Maceió, Maginot, Manchukuo, medico, Mexico, mistletoe, modulo, Monaco, Navajo, NCO, nuncio, oleo, olio, on tiptoe, Oreo, overgrow, overthrow, ovolo, Pamlico, Papago, paseo, picaro, piccolo, Pierrot, polio, pomelo, pompano, portico, PPO, Prospero, proximo, quid pro quo, radio, raree-show, ratio, Richard Roe, Rochambeau, rococo, rodeo, Romeo, rose window, round window, saddlebow, Sapporo, sapsago, Scapa Flow, Scipio, Scorpio, semipro, show window, sloppy joe, so-and-so, SRO, standing O, status quo, stereo, stop-and-go, studio, subito, tallyho, tangelo, Taranto, tic-tac-toe, TKO, to-and-fro, Tokyo, tombolo, touch-and-go, tournedos, tremolo, tuckahoe, tupelo, UFO, ultimo, undergo, undertow, Veneto, vertigo, vibrio, video, virago, vireo, Zhangjiakou, zydeco



noun over·flow \ˈō-vər-ˌflō\

Simple Definition of overflow

  • : an act of flowing over the edge or top of something

  • : the amount of something that flows over the edge or top of something else

  • : the number of people or things that goes over a limit

Full Definition of overflow

  1. 1 :  a flowing over :  inundation

  2. 2 :  something that flows over :  surplus

  3. 3 :  an outlet or receptacle for surplus liquid

Examples of overflow

  1. <a great overflow of water from the heavy rains swept mud and silt down onto the highway>

  2. <an overflow of help actually made the job more complicated>


First Known Use of overflow


Medical Dictionary


noun over·flow \ˈō-vər-ˌflō\

Medical Definition of overflow

  1. :  an excessive flow or amount

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up overflow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift duvet pince-nez kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.