en·gulf | \ in-ˈgəlf , en- \
engulfed; engulfing; engulfs

Definition of engulf 

transitive verb

1 : to flow over and enclose : overwhelm the mounting seas threatened to engulf the island

2 : to take in (food) by or as if by flowing over and enclosing

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Other words from engulf

engulfment \in-ˈgəlf-mənt, en- \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for engulf


deluge, drown, flood, gulf, inundate, overflow, overwhelm, submerge, submerse, swamp



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Examples of engulf in a Sentence

The valley was engulfed in a thick fog. high waves from the hurricane engulfed large areas of the coastal community

Recent Examples on the Web

Less than 24 hours after the increases went into effect and violent demonstrations engulfed the nation's capital of Port-au-Prince, Prime Minister Jack Lafontant tweeted that the measure had been temporarily suspended. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Haitian officials knew the gas price hike would be unpopular. They did it anyway," 10 July 2018 The fire jumped through the community of West Willows, engulfing buildings and also burning along a traffic median on the side of the freeway. Sarah Parvini, latimes.com, "Numerous homes destroyed as heat wave, winds spark brush fires," 6 July 2018 Meade — a former finance minister who ran as a clean candidate, but became bogged down by graft scandals engulfing others in the PRI — quickly conceded the race. David Agren, USA TODAY, "Mexico elects left-leaning populist as president by wide margin," 2 July 2018 Police said even though the fire quickly engulfed the bus, the 16 teens and two adult chaperones and driver were able to safely exit. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Church bus carrying teens engulfed by fire on I-65; no injuries reported," 30 June 2018 Lionel Messi’s penalty miss in the 1-1 draw with Iceland on matchday one in Group D sparked the fire, and the calamitous 3-0 defeat to Croatia which followed seemingly engulfed the house around the South Americans. SI.com, "Papering Over the Cracks: Why Argentina's Win Over Nigeria Won't Inspire La Celeste to WC Glory," 28 June 2018 Joe O’Brien, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, tucks his helmet into his chest, steals a breath of clean air, and steps closer to the fire now engulfing a $23,000 camera. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "What the West Can Learn from Florida About Forest Fires," 27 June 2018 They were called to the blaze before 2 a.m. Flames engulfed the upper floor and roof of both 1030 and 1028 Washington Ave. Jennifer Baker And Robert Guaderrama, Cincinnati.com, "Fire tears through vacant Newport homes," 19 June 2018 Higher oil prices have buoyed the currency and distinguished the country from the political turmoil afflicting Brazil and Mexico, and the economic chaos engulfing Argentina. Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg.com, "Colombia Elects Pro-Market Lawyer Duque in Presidential Runoff," 17 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'engulf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of engulf

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for engulf

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for engulf

The first known use of engulf was in 1555

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English Language Learners Definition of engulf

: to flow over and cover (someone or something)


en·gulf | \ in-ˈgəlf \
engulfed; engulfing

Kids Definition of engulf

1 : to flow over and cover or surround The town was engulfed by the flood.

2 : to be overwhelmed by He was engulfed by fear.

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More from Merriam-Webster on engulf

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for engulf

Spanish Central: Translation of engulf

Nglish: Translation of engulf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of engulf for Arabic Speakers

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to make amends

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