en·​gulf in-ˈgəlf How to pronounce engulf (audio)
engulfed; engulfing; engulfs

transitive verb

: to flow over and enclose : overwhelm
the mounting seas threatened to engulf the island
: to take in (food) by or as if by flowing over and enclosing
engulfment noun

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 On Thursday evening, during a celebration marking the show's opening, Leibovitz could be found engulfed by admirers. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, 16 Sep. 2023 The unprecedented rainfall engulfed cities in the North African nation last week, rupturing two dams in the country’s northeast and sending a deluge of water to Derna, which has seen the worst of the devastation. Sana Noor Haq, CNN, 14 Sep. 2023 The pop-punk band appropriately engulfed the MTV stage in pyrotechnics to play the song off their 2023 album So Much (for) Stardust. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2023 However, the snapshot didn’t include layoffs that have engulfed the sector this year, because job totals were reported as of Dec. 31. Jonathan Saltzman, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Sep. 2023 This video is currently not available Thousands are feared to have died in floods that engulfed eastern Libya after Storm Daniel smashed into the North African country, swallowing whole neighborhoods and an unknown number of residents. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 New Delhi was also engulfed by sectarian riots for several days in 2020, leaving more than 30 people dead. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 6 Sep. 2023 The historic proceedings set to start in the state Senate on Tuesday are the most serious threat yet to one of Texas’ most powerful figures after nine years engulfed by criminal charges, scandal and accusations of corruption. Paul J. Weber, Jake Bleiberg, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Sep. 2023 Around 4:00 pm, the structure was engulfed by a 90-meter-tall fire whirl, an intense vortex of superheated air and flame. IEEE Spectrum, 1 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'engulf.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of engulf was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near engulf

Cite this Entry

“Engulf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engulf. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


en·​gulf in-ˈgəlf How to pronounce engulf (audio)
: to flow over and enclose : overwhelm
engulfment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on engulf

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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