over·​flow | \ ˌō-vər-ˈflō How to pronounce overflow (audio) \
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


over·​flow | \ ˈō-vər-ˌflō How to pronounce overflow (audio) \

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for overflow

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The rainwater caused rivers and streams to overflow, leaving many victims to seek shelter from the floodwaters by climbing up trees and onto rooftops, according to the outlets. Abigail Adams, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2022 Warehouses in grain-producing states sometimes overflow, while those elsewhere sit half-empty. Vibhuti Agarwal, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 The heavy influx of water caused the sanitary sewers to overflow at several places throughout Dallas, the city said in a release Monday, noting that the city water system has not been impacted. Elizabeth Wolfe And Raja Razek, CNN, 23 Aug. 2022 Massive flooding and mudslides in northeastern India's Assam state have claimed eight more lives, officials said Sunday, taking the death toll to 62 from weeks of heavy rains that caused one of Asia’s largest rivers to overflow. Wasbir Hussain, ajc, 19 June 2022 Gannett says its internal research — primarily reader surveys — suggests editorials, guest commentary columns, op-eds and letters to the editor have lost relevance in an age when opinions overflow on social media. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 The lonesome line speaks to the musician’s deceptively simple songwriting – lyrics written in 5-10 minutes, that at face value are black and white, but overflow with nuance by way of his delivery. Neena Rouhani, Billboard, 25 July 2022 Online want ads placed by the regional recruitment offices of the Ministry of Defense also overflow with thousands of postings for those with military specialties. New York Times, 10 July 2022 Ramirez said the mold-riddled prison had such shoddy infrastructure, elevators were constantly broken and the sewers would overflow into the recreation yard during rain storms, sometimes leaving a foot of human waste behind. Michael Balsamo And Michael R. Sisak, BostonGlobe.com, 27 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Using the former Salt Lake County library is expected to add 100 beds to more than 240 beds to be made available for winter overflow between St. Vincent de Paul and flexible capacity at the region’s existing resource centers for the unsheltered. Tony Semerad, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sep. 2022 The overflow started at 11:15 p.m. Sunday night and was ongoing as of 9 a.m. Monday, according to Bill Graffin, the Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District's public information manager. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 12 Sep. 2022 Kay is also expected to bring tidal overflow, which could cause minor flooding in coastal areas at high tide. Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2022 The City of Cranston found evidence of a sanitary sewer overflow on Lake Street, where the area was flooded with rain water, and operators saw movement around the sanitary sewer manholes, Healey said. Shannon Larson, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2022 Free parking and free overflow parking with shuttle service at Germania Park. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 5 Sep. 2022 And this is the second time in a month that [00:03:00] the overflow at Edgewater has happened. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 31 Aug. 2022 On the main drag in the bustling capital, Kyiv, the tables at the Georgia restaurant overflow with khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread), khinkali dumplings and traditional Georgian wine. Ed Flanagan, NBC News, 20 Aug. 2022 To accommodate the inmate overflow, Kendall County has working agreements with Kerr, Atascosa, Bernet and Blanco county detention centers to host those whom Kendall cannot. Ricardo Delgado, San Antonio Express-News, 19 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of overflow


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


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for overflow

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near overflow



overflow bug

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Statistics for overflow

Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Overflow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overflow. Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for overflow


over·​flow | \ ˌō-vər-ˈflō How to pronounce overflow (audio) \
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.


over·​flow | \ ˈō-vər-ˌflō How to pronounce overflow (audio) \

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.


over·​flow | \ ˈō-vər-ˌflō How to pronounce overflow (audio) \

Medical Definition of overflow

: an excessive flow or amount

More from Merriam-Webster on overflow

Nglish: Translation of overflow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overflow for Arabic Speakers


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