in·​un·​date ˈi-(ˌ)nən-ˌdāt How to pronounce inundate (audio)
inundated; inundating

transitive verb

: overwhelm
was inundated with phone calls
: to cover with a flood : overflow
inundation noun
inundator noun
inundatory adjective

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Did you know?

In the summer of 1993, record rains in the Midwest caused the Mississippi River to overflow its banks, break through levees, and inundate the entire countryside; such an inundation hadn't been seen for at least a hundred years. By contrast, the Nile River inundated its entire valley every year, bringing the rich black silt that made the valley one of the most fertile places on earth. (The inundations ceased with the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970.) Whenever a critical issue is being debated, the White House and Congressional offices are inundated with phone calls and emails, just as a town may be inundated with complaints when it starts charging a fee for garbage pickup.

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Example Sentences

Rising rivers could inundate low-lying areas. water from the overflowing bathtub inundated the bathroom floor
Recent Examples on the Web The dangerous flooding, fueled by heavy rainfall and snowmelt, began to inundate the park and surrounding areas Monday, overtaking essential roadways and bridges and completely surrounding some communities. Claire Colbert, CNN, 17 June 2022 The university said the mats absorb wave energy and help mitigate the flooding that increasingly threatens to inundate Boston and other coastal cities. Globe Staff,, 8 July 2022 And by the end of this decade, there’ll be at least a 1 percent chance each year of a severe flood that could inundate up to 2,100 buildings and cause $2 billion or more in damage. Globe Staff,, 27 June 2022 The storm could bring torrential rains, damaging winds and an ocean surge that could inundate coastal communities. Washington Post, 28 May 2022 Many Pacific leaders are worried about climate change, and that warmer temperatures could lead to sea-level rises that would inundate their low-lying countries. Mike Cherney, WSJ, 26 May 2022 In coastal Santa Barbara County, residents of mountain communities near the Alisal Fire burn scar were ordered Monday to evacuate over concerns that heavy rains might cause flooding and debris flows that could inundate hillside homes. Janie Har And Christopher Weber, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Dec. 2021 Despite rain, residents inundate a nearby Orthodox church for clothing donations. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Apr. 2022 Rainfall rates in Houston could reach up to two inches per hour, which will inundate some streets and bring the city to a crawl. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 31 Jan. 2022 See More

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

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Word History


Latin inundatus, past participle of inundare, from in- + unda wave — more at water

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of inundate was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near inundate

Cite this Entry

“Inundate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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Kids Definition



in·​un·​date ˈin-ən-ˌdāt How to pronounce inundate (audio)
inundated; inundating
: to cover with or as if with a flood
I'm inundated by mail.

More from Merriam-Webster on inundate

Last Updated: 28 Aug 2022

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