overflow

1 of 2

verb

over·​flow ˌō-vər-ˈflō How to pronounce overflow (audio)
overflowed; overflowing; overflows

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

2 of 2

noun

over·​flow ˈō-vər-ˌflō How to pronounce overflow (audio)
1
: a flowing over : inundation
2
: something that flows over : surplus
3
: an outlet or receptacle for surplus liquid

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Chappell Roan hadn’t yet hit the stage and the Gobi tent was already overflowing with gays and girlies. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 13 Apr. 2024 Meanwhile, emergency rooms downstairs overflow with patients, nearly all of whom will be sent back on the streets. Alex Barnard, The Mercury News, 10 Apr. 2024 The Seine overflows its banks after heavy rainfall in Paris last week. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 10 Apr. 2024 Taxi Driver overflows with grimy, nightmarish urban detail, and offers an understanding of some of the worst people in the world — radicalized by a strange combination of narcissism and powerlessness — but never quite empathizes with them. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 9 Mar. 2024 Their 2018 debut New Bois overflows with quirky genre hallmarks including cartoonish auto-tune and Nextel chirps, and even a couple of features from Polimá Westcoast. Richard Villegas, Rolling Stone, 1 Apr. 2024 The batter expands rapidly and will overflow from the mixing bowl, leaving your counter a mess. Jessica Furniss, Southern Living, 30 Mar. 2024 Right now, Amazon’s Easter Shop is overflowing with Easter basket fillers for kids and adults — and our favorite goodies ring in at under $10. Isabel Garcia, Peoplemag, 24 Mar. 2024 Wander through the Harbert Antique Mall, where a back corner overflows with bolts of vintage fabric, and Sawyer Antique Mall for, perhaps, a miniature wood cow. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 21 Mar. 2024
Noun
This resulted in messy overflow (with dirt) on my floor—I’m thrilled not to have this problem anymore. Ali Faccenda, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Apr. 2024 Doing so has meant vastly altering Paris’ sewage system, including a 13 million-gallon overflow tank called the Austerlitz Basin. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 10 Apr. 2024 Residents can sign up for alerts to learn when overflows are happening by texting WATERDROP to 414-296-4422. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 9 Apr. 2024 Guests took advantage of a red carpet complete with a veteran Tinseltown photographer (Todd Williamson) while others waited in long lines simply to get into the Laemmle (an overflow theater was added to accommodate the number of RSVPs). Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Apr. 2024 Cubbies installed underneath provide more storage for their shoes, while drawers were added at the end of the island to hold overflow items. Natalia Senanayake, Peoplemag, 4 Apr. 2024 To prevent that, overflow basins are being constructed in Gateway and Riverside Park. Luke Ranker, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2 Apr. 2024 The overflow menu offers file compression, selection, and Properties options, as well as the old Folder Options dialog. PCMAG, 22 Mar. 2024 Scripps has said that the move is simply about handling the overflow of Mercy Chula Vista’s very-busy emergency department while also noting that its maternity unit in Hillcrest has run at less than its full capacity, leaving room for an influx of South Bay patients. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overflow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near overflow

Cite this Entry

“Overflow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overflow. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

overflow

1 of 2 verb
over·​flow ˌō-vər-ˈflō How to pronounce overflow (audio)
1
: to cover with or as if with water : inundate
2
: to flow over the brim or top of
the river overflowed its banks
3
: to flow over bounds
the creek overflows every spring
4
: to fill a space up and spread beyond its limits
the paragraph overflowed the page

overflow

2 of 2 noun
over·​flow ˈō-vər-ˌflō How to pronounce overflow (audio)
1
: a flowing over : flood
2
: something that flows over : surplus
3
: an outlet or container for liquid that overflows

Medical Definition

overflow

noun
over·​flow ˈō-vər-ˌflō How to pronounce overflow (audio)
: an excessive flow or amount

More from Merriam-Webster on overflow

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