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

Example Sentences

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 Sakurajima, each instrument (saxophone, guitar, drums) is a crucial point in the pyramid, forming cinematic soundscapes that engulf you in lava. Spin Staff, SPIN, 22 Dec. 2022 Gordon’s book offers a deep dive into the lives of two of its victims — her grandparents, Julie and Norbert Baum — whom their son tried in vain to save from the madness that would later engulf them. Dallas News, 21 Apr. 2022 Arctic air from a winter storm system will engulf much of the East Coast on Friday, as forecasters warn the weather will lead to power outages and snarl holiday travel with heavy snow, blizzard conditions and dangerously cold temperatures. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 23 Dec. 2022 Flames engulf a chair inside a burning home as the Oak Fire burns in Mariposa County, Calif., on July 23. Time, 22 Dec. 2022 Total lunar eclipses occur when the Earth is positioned well enough between the sun and the moon causing the Earth's shadow to engulf its only natural satellite. Kye Graves, The Arizona Republic, 3 Nov. 2022 Today Ukraine is ground zero for worry that Russia will ignite a conflict that could engulf the region. Robert Burns, ajc, 22 Jan. 2022 Most snakes cannot take bites and must engulf their prey whole. Bethany Brookshire, Scientific American, 7 Dec. 2022 With 6 million active accounts in Senegal so far—about half of the market share—and a skyrocketing customer base in Cote D’Ivoire, Wave appears to have ridden out the storms that engulf most start-ups in their infancy. Kingsley Kobo, Quartz, 18 July 2022 See More

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.

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 2 Feb. 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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