overflow

verb
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

overflow

noun
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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for overflow

Synonyms: Verb

overfill

Synonyms: Noun

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

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

Flies buzz around overflowing trash and unrefrigerated food. Molly O'toole, latimes.com, "Facing Trump’s asylum limits, refugees from as far as Africa languish in a Mexican camp," 8 July 2019 Flies buzz around overflowing trash and unrefrigerated food. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Facing Trump’s asylum limits, refugees from as far as Africa languish in a Mexican camp," 8 July 2019 The dam had developed cracks and overflowed after heavy rainfall in the coastal region. Washington Post, "Death toll in western India dam breach climbs to 15," 5 July 2019 That has raised fears among migrants' advocates that Mexican border cities are ill-prepared to cope with the influx, with resources scarce and many shelters already overflowing. Fox News, "Dozens of Central Americans returned from US are sent home by Mexico," 3 July 2019 The old Rocky Flats Lounge was famous among Wisconsin transplants, both for its Friday fish fries and rowdy crowds that filled the place to overflowing when the Packers played. John Meyer, The Denver Post, "Four years after fire, iconic Rocky Flats bar reborn with a new name and a new aim," 3 July 2019 The lawn of the Nicaraguan Embassy - a launch point for migrants seeking to enter the United States via Mexico - is overflowing with visa applicants. Author: Anthony Faiola, Anchorage Daily News, "As sanctions bite in Cuba, the U.S. — once a driver of hope — is now a source of pain," 24 June 2019 Bacteria concentrations in recreational waters can increase during and immediately after rainstorms due to overflowing sewage collection, stormwater runoff, malfunctioning septic systems, and agricultural runoff. al.com, "Health advisory issued for swimming near Fairhope public beach," 21 June 2019 Tifany, ran up to her mother and began to hiccup as her eyes overflowed with tears. Alice Driver, Longreads, "Oh, Girl!," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Officials said Friday that additional samples now show about 165,000 gallons of sewage overflow. USA TODAY, "Chicago cows, bras for turtles, gold rush: News from around our 50 states," 1 July 2019 While the city has stopped the overflow, water samples show elevated levels of bacteria. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Golden Gardens Park closed to swimming, fishing after sewer overflow," 1 July 2019 The overflow occurred at three manholes in Burnett Bay. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Raw sewage overflowing from Baytown manholes after recent storms.. .again," 26 June 2019 According to Maurer, as meltwater increases, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), or catastrophic bursts of overflow from previously contained glacial meltwater, will start to be a serious threat. Madeleine Laplante-dube, Outside Online, "The Himalayas Are in Even Worse Shape Than We Thought," 19 June 2019 Santiago said the county is offering discounts on their normal animal adoption rates to help alleviate the overflow. Claire Rafford, azcentral, "Maricopa County's animal facility in Mesa quarantined after distemper found in some dogs," 5 June 2019 August Moon Festival / August 11 The streets of Boston’s Chinatown overflow with color and people for the August Moon Festival. BostonGlobe.com, "Things to do in Greater Boston this summer," 1 July 2018 Reserve a church seat now, lest the congregation overflow. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors, Celtics: It feels like a collision course," 15 May 2018 One day late in the spring term, Badan Joya, one of five female teachers among the school’s 12, was teaching a fourth-grade math class in one of the overflow tents. New York Times, "A School With No Heat or Computers but Many College-Bound Students. Mostly Girls.," 27 June 2019

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

13 Jul 2019

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 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.

overflow

noun
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.

overflow

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

Medical Definition of overflow

: an excessive flow or amount

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More from Merriam-Webster on overflow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overflow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overflow

Spanish Central: Translation of overflow

Nglish: Translation of overflow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overflow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overflow

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