verb \ˌō-vər-ˈhwelm, -ˈwelm\

: to affect (someone) very strongly

: to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with

: to defeat (someone or something) completely

Full Definition of OVERWHELM

transitive verb
a :  to cover over completely :  submerge
b :  to overcome by superior force or numbers
c :  to overpower in thought or feeling

Examples of OVERWHELM

  1. Don't overwhelm him with facts.
  2. They were overwhelmed with work.
  3. The city was overwhelmed by the invading army.


Middle English, from 1over + whelmen to turn over, cover up
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with OVERWHELM


Next Word in the Dictionary: overwhelming
Previous Word in the Dictionary: overwelt
All Words Near: overwhelm

Seen & Heard

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

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More