overflow

verb
over·flow | \ ˌō-vər-ˈflō \
overflowed; overflowing; overflows

Definition of overflow 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cover with or as if with water : inundate

2 : to flow over the brim of

3 : to cause to overflow

intransitive verb

1 : to flow over bounds

2 : to fill a space to capacity and spread beyond its limits the crowd overflowed into the street

overflow

noun
over·flow | \ ˈō-vər-ˌflō \

Definition of overflow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a flowing over : inundation

2 : something that flows over : surplus

3 : an outlet or receptacle for surplus liquid

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Synonyms & Antonyms for overflow

Synonyms: Verb

deluge, drown, engulf, flood, gulf, inundate, overwhelm, submerge, submerse, swamp

Synonyms: Noun

bath, cataclysm, cataract, deluge, flood, flood tide, inundation, Niagara, spate, torrent

Antonyms: Verb

drain

Antonyms: Noun

drought (also drouth)

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Examples of overflow in a Sentence

Verb

The river overflowed its banks. The creek overflows every spring. The water in the tub overflowed. Books and papers overflowed his desk. The paragraph overflowed the page.

Noun

a great overflow of water from the heavy rains swept mud and silt down onto the highway an overflow of help actually made the job more complicated
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The beds in this ward are overflowing with patients, the rounded stumps of their amputated limbs pointing at the ceiling. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 By the end of the day, all recycling dumpsters were overflowing. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Duluth declares clean-up day success," 11 July 2018 This weekend is overflowing with festivals—including the Chosen Few Picnic and West Fest—but that's no reason to snub Dark Matter Coffee's annual block party, which this year becomes a two-day bash at Western and Chicago. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Chicago neck breakers Nequient hit the road behind their scorching debut full-length," 3 July 2018 Once inside, the good vibes were overflowing, with hippie-dippie dancing all across the hill and in the seats as the six-piece band zestfully dug into the freestylin’ grooves. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reopened Alpine Valley Music Theatre splendid sight for splendid sounds of Dead & Company," 23 June 2018 One was overflowing, its green lid lifted by the bags inside. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Biologists say trash bears in Eagle River will be killed — but people are the problem," 19 June 2018 Puerto Rico’s main morgue is now overflowing with unclaimed bodies. NBC News, "Puerto Rico 9 months after Hurricane Maria: Questions persist over death toll, closed schools," 17 June 2018 The internet, as always, is overflowing with content about his death. Jennifer Michael Hecht, Vox, "How the media covers celebrity suicides can have life-or-death consequences," 8 June 2018 Nowadays the gaming headset market is overflowing with options. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Alienware's AW988 is a premium wireless headset for a premium price," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The submerged roots of the floating plants provide a natural filter for the water, which can be polluted with sewage overflow after heavy rains. Patrick M. O'connell, chicagotribune.com, "A 'wild mile' on the Chicago River? It might be closer than you think," 22 June 2018 Lava from the fissure continues to flow to ocean at Kapoho, with rare, small overflows of the channel levees. CBS News, "Kilauea volcano eruption: Seismic activity increases, earthquakes strike 5 days in a row," 15 June 2018 With an overflow of anywhere from 59,000 to 111,000 cars daily, those drivers would flood Downtown streets, looking for an alternative route. Amy Bartner, Indianapolis Star, "Exclusive: INDOT looks at 7 different ways to rethink Downtown Indy's North Split," 3 May 2018 Schuhmacher rigged up an alert system, using an alarm that’s normally placed in an overflow pan for his air conditioner. Lindsay Peyton, Houston Chronicle, "Harvey hero with a fishing boat carried neighbors to safety," 27 Apr. 2018 The more rain the more sewage that overflows, and MSD has in recent years reported annual overflows of 2 billion to nearly 6 billion gallons. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, "You might not want to know how much sewage wastewater is mixed in floodwaters," 27 Feb. 2018 And our snow day videos are just an overflow or extension of the culture our awesome staff is working to build and create on a daily basis. Nancy Daly, Cincinnati.com, "'Singing Principal' to gab about snow day videos with Steve Harvey," 6 Feb. 2018 Another theory suggested trolls had hacked their own bases to have billions of nukes, leading to an integer overflow that caused the servers to mistakenly count to zero. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Konami apologizes for announcing nuclear disarmament (in Metal Gear Solid V)," 5 Feb. 2018 MetroHealth Medical Center is using its two new hospitals in Parma and Cleveland Heights as overflow for flu patients coming from the main campus emergency department, according to a recent president's report. Ann Norman, cleveland.com, "How did you meet the love of your life?," 25 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overflow.' 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 overflow

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for overflow

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overflow

The first known use of overflow was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for overflow

overflow

verb

English Language Learners Definition of overflow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to flow over the edge or top of (something)

: to fill or cover (something) completely

: to be completely filled with something : to be so filled that there is not enough room for anything or anyone more

overflow

noun

English Language Learners Definition of overflow (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of flowing over the edge or top of something

: the amount of something that flows over the edge or top of something else

: the number of people or things that goes over a limit

overflow

verb
over·flow | \ ˌō-vər-ˈflō \
overflowed; overflowing

Kids Definition of overflow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to flow over the top of The river overflowed its banks.

2 : to flow over bounds The creek overflows every spring.

3 : to fill or become filled beyond capacity The basket was overflowing with candy.

4 : to fill a space up and spread beyond its limits The crowd overflowed into the street.

overflow

noun
over·flow | \ ˈō-vər-ˌflō \

Kids Definition of overflow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a flowing over Dams couldn't stop the overflow.

2 : something that flows over or fills a space and spreads beyond its limits Police tried to control the overflow of traffic.

overflow

noun
over·flow | \ ˈō-vər-ˌflō \

Medical Definition of overflow 

: an excessive flow or amount

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Comments on overflow

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