en·​gulf | \ in-ˈgəlf How to pronounce engulf (audio) , 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 How to pronounce engulfment (audio) , 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

An arriving officer located the silver Porsche, which was engulfed in flames. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Porsche fire melts condo garage siding: Brecksville Police Blotter," 14 Aug. 2019 On the fourth descent practicing takeoffs and landings, the plane landed a little less than 1,000 feet from the runway, clipping trees and rolling along a field until a collision with a tree stump engulfed it in flames. Steve Borelli, USA TODAY, "Forty years later, Thurman Munson's legacy remains story," 1 Aug. 2019 The researchers have also seen whales release gulls, both alive and dead, which were accidentally engulfed. Sarah Keartes, National Geographic, "How a humpback whale ended up with a sea lion in its mouth," 30 July 2019 The rocket never left the ground; it was engulfed in a large cloud of smoke and flames that emanated from the top of the vehicle. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "SpaceX Just Unleashed Its Starship Rocket for the First Time," 26 July 2019 Whatever the reason, we were engulfed in these most relentless sounds all weekend long. Brittany Gaston, Billboard, "The Nine Best Moments of Tomorrowland 2019, Featuring Shaq, Eric Prydz, Charlotte de Witte & More," 23 July 2019 Preliminary evidence indicates the car veered off the road, struck the poll and was engulfed in flames with the two victims unconscious inside. Rachel Raskin-zrihen, The Mercury News, "29-year-old Bay Area doctor killed in fiery crash on July 4," 9 July 2019 Five years ago, when the former student, Alonzo Yanes, was a sophomore at Beacon High School, a competitive public school in Manhattan, he was engulfed in flames after a chemistry experiment went awry. Eliza Shapiro, New York Times, "$60 Million Awarded to N.Y. Student Engulfed in Flames in Chemistry Accident," 1 July 2019 When firefighters arrived on scene, three vehicles were engulfed in flames, Beveridge told OnScene TV. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "9 injured in fiery multi-vehicle National City crash," 1 July 2019

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

20 Aug 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 How to pronounce engulf (audio) \
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

Comments on engulf

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


not constant or steady

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