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

When firefighters arrived just after 8:40 p.m. Saturday, flames were shooting 100 feet in the air and a warehouse was fully engulfed, Kristin Tinsley, a spokeswoman for the fire department, said Monday. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Fire at Gascoigne Lumber on North Queen Anne was arson, Seattle fire officials say," 13 Nov. 2018 The vehicle was engulfed in flames when deputies arrived on the scene, Koteras said. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Big rig fire closes Northwest Freeway westbound at Mueschke," 30 May 2018 Police and fire officials were called to Laguna Canyon Road at the southbound 73 Toll Road offramp at 3:34 p.m. A car was engulfed in flames inside a bush, authorities said. Hannah Fry, latimes.com, "Crash on Laguna Canyon Road ignites small brush fire," 14 May 2018 The bus, which was engulfed by flames shortly after the collision, was returning its 67 occupants to the First Assembly of God church in Radcliff after a daylong outing at Kings Island amusement park north of Cincinnati. The Courier-Journal, "Archives: Courier Journal's initial 1988 report on the Carrollton bus crash," 14 May 2018 He was engulfed in a group hug from family members. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Tyler Conklin's NFL draft journey ends with family, long-awaited pick," 29 Apr. 2018 His smallish size — 6-1, 236 — raises slight concerns he could get engulfed trying to stop the run, but his instincts and athleticism typically prevail. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Bears fans are going to love this draft if Ryan Pace plays it safe and stays at No. 8," 20 Apr. 2018 Officers tried to pull Mitchell from the car before it was engulfed in flames, but Mitchell was pronounced dead on the scene. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "Murder suspect killed in fiery Tuscaloosa crash," 13 Mar. 2018 Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, and Nancy García—were on hand for the premiere and afterwards at the party, where they were engulfed by admirers at the Pool. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "Some of New York’s Brightest Stars Turn Out for Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma Premiere," 28 Nov. 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

5 Feb 2019

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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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esteemed in general opinion

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