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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sometimes, these glacial lakes overflow or burst, surging down the mountainside with devastating force. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Deadly Himalayan Flood Shows Perils of Mountain Warming," 10 Feb. 2021 The lake was formed in 1811 and 1812 after the New Madrid earthquakes caused the Mississippi River to overflow its banks, creating the 23-square mile lake that spans Obion and Lake counties. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "After Two Duck Hunters Were Killed on Reelfoot Lake, Investigators Are Searching for a 70-Year-Old Man, Considered ‘Armed and Dangerous’," 26 Jan. 2021 Some patients would be offloaded to overflow beds at freestanding emergency centers or a field hospital at Freeman Coliseum. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "Hospitals full. Thousands infected with coronavirus each week. San Antonio pays the price for failing to flatten the curve.," 16 Jan. 2021 According to the Alaskan Sled Dog and Racing Association website, conditions are improving but trail workers are dealing with some slushy snow and overflow. Anchorage Daily News, "Sled dogs will see some action this weekend in the Denali Doubles 100," 10 Dec. 2020 On Friday, the Italian government announced another lockdown, over the Christmas and New Year holidays, for fear that hospitals could overflow and deaths rise even higher in January. Margherita Stancati, WSJ, "Why Are So Many Italians Dying of Covid-19?," 21 Dec. 2020 During heavy rains, the pipes overflow into waterways like Lake Erie and Euclid Creek to prevent urban flooding. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Regional sewer board agrees to modify $3 billion plan to reduce sewage in area waterways," 10 Dec. 2020 During Connecticut’s initial COVID-19 wave last spring, hospitals set up various ancillary sites to treat patients, from tents in parking lots to overflow hospitals at the Connecticut Convention Center and other large venues. Emily Brindley, courant.com, "Reallocating staff, moving patients, setting up new sites: Connecticut hospitals prep for surge of patients as COVID-19 spreads," 8 Dec. 2020 With the coronavirus running rampant in Los Angeles and hospitals projected to overflow by Christmas, officials have fallen back on a familiar refrain: Stay home. Soumya Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times, "Many aren’t buying public officials’ ‘stay-at-home’ message. Experts say there’s a better way," 7 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fire Chief Doug Stefko has directed that the community center will be opened for use after hours in the event that there is a need to accommodate residents due to an overflow of the City Hall community room. cleveland, "South Euclid offers use of community center, City Hall should residents lose power due to weather," 15 Feb. 2021 Kent Hospital was using all its beds for its sickest COVID-19 patients, and needed somewhere for the overflow. David Goldman, BostonGlobe.com, "Inside a COVID-19 field hospital in Rhode Island," 12 Feb. 2021 Kent Hospital was using all its beds for its sickest COVID-19 patients, and needed somewhere for the overflow. David Goldman, Star Tribune, "AP PHOTOS: A look inside a modern COVID-19 'field hospital'," 11 Feb. 2021 More than 800 people attended Kamille’s funeral at New Beginnings Christian Ministry, with 400-plus more in an overflow. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Suspects indicted in the 2019 abduction and murder of Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney," 5 Jan. 2021 The alternative care site with two floors of supplemental hospital beds inside a parking structure was opened Nov. 12 to accommodate an overflow in COVID-19 cases if needed. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Conspiracy theories, overtime abuse, digital divide: News from around our 50 states," 4 Dec. 2020 The money could be used to pay for COVID-19 testing, including to continue using the Wisconsin National Guard, and for additional overflow care facilities to help ease the strain of patients on hospitals, LeMahieu saud. Scott Bauer, Star Tribune, "Wisconsin Senate not coming back this month for virus relief," 2 Dec. 2020 The money could be used to pay for COVID-19 testing, including to continue using the Wisconsin National Guard, and for additional overflow care facilities to help ease the strain of patients on hospitals, LeMahieu saud. Scott Bauer, chicagotribune.com, "Republicans who control the Wisconsin Senate won’t take up any COVID-19 relief measures before January," 2 Dec. 2020 Apple patched a buffer overflow flaw after Beer privately reported it. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "2020 had its share of memorable hacks and breaches. Here are the top 10," 28 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for overflow Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for overflow

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overflow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overflow. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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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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Comments on overflow

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