over·​load | \ ˌō-vər-ˈlōd How to pronounce overload (audio) \
overloaded; overloading; overloads

Definition of overload

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to load (something or someone) to excess: such as
a : to put too large a load on or in (something) overload a ship overload a washing machine Overloading the trailer poses a safety risk. … a bad winter can so overload roofs with snow that their collapses become endemic.— Henry Petroski
b : to give too much of something to (someone or something) : to supply with an excess of something overloading students with more information than they can retain More than ever, the upper middle class is synonymous with the stressed-out class. Their bosses are overloading them with work …— Joseph Spiers … have overloaded the market with too many strange designs and weird color combinations.— Mimi Valdés a movie overloaded with special effects a court system overloaded with criminal cases
c : to cause too large a load in (something, such as an electrical circuit) Too much current traveling through one circuit can cause an overload. The wires inside a wall can get too hot and start a fire. Using a special safety power strip can help prevent overloading a circuit.Science


over·​load | \ ˈō-vər-ˌlōd How to pronounce overload (audio) \
plural overloads

Definition of overload (Entry 2 of 2)

: an excessive load or amount of something an overload of cargo an overload of details If your dog is suffering from an overload of stress, he will appear depressed, inactive, sluggish and unresponsive.— Daniel Seligman You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance …— Philip Roth If you're a regular reader of blogs, … you've probably been frustrated from time to time by information overload: the blogosphere creates way too much material for any human being to comfortably digest.— Chris Taylor Large department stores tend to bring on sensory overload [=overstimulation of the senses]— Stephen O'Shea and Joan Harting

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Synonyms for overload

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of overload in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If your clothes, sheets and towels don’t come out of the wash clean, these three tips might address the problem: Don’t overload the washing machine. Jolie Kerr, CNN Underscored, "What is laundry stripping, TikTok’s new favorite way to clean?," 7 July 2020 If all restrictions were completely lifted today, hospitals would overload on August 7. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan 1 of 3 states on track to contain COVID-19; 'cases are steadily decreasing'," 18 June 2020 This suggests that people who transition too quickly to barefoot activities may overload their muscles and tendons. Peter Francis, CNN, "Barefoot running: Why you should consider it to prevent injuries," 3 June 2020 The model says if Arizona stays on its current track and reopening is slow and phased, hospitals are unlikely to be overloaded in the next three months. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Arizona saw highest single-day ER visits, Yuma sees spike in cases related to COVID-19 over weekend," 26 May 2020 The same can be said for New Orleans and Detroit, which both saw their health care systems overloaded. Mike Massa, SFChronicle.com, "How the Bay Area’s coronavirus death rate compares with other U.S. regions," 20 May 2020 It’s hard to imagine the existence of McCartney’s whoos, Axl’s mic-overloading grit, Prince’s androgyny or Hendrix’s flash without Macon, Ga. native Richard Penniman. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Muscle Shoals guitarist on being in Little Richard’s band for 18 years," 11 May 2020 If certain departments aren’t functioning properly, then the health care system is going to be overloaded. Fox News, "Columbia University students pitch in with health care efforts during coronavirus pandemic," 10 May 2020 Since the company can still ship products remotely, there’s no use overloading public transportation systems. Sarah Frier, Bloomberg.com, "Facebook Follows Google, Signaling Online Ad Pain Set to Worsen," 5 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The sheer overload of problems hitting Connecticut residents over the past several months has been enough to drive even the hardiest souls to their knees. Michael Hamad, courant.com, "After the pandemic and an economy in the tank, this brutal storm feels like a knockout punch," 6 Aug. 2020 But the stress of her twisted relationship with the network had already taken its toll on the R&B singer, resulting in an emotional overload that landed her in the hospital two weeks ago. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Tamar Braxton Shares A Moving Statement About The State Of Reality Television," 30 July 2020 That's why one of the easiest hacks for combating cell phone overload is to zap the color out of your phone by putting it in grayscale mode. Lauren Kent, CNN, "Try this smartphone hack and other tricks to reduce your screen time," 11 June 2020 Zoom offers some solutions to this visual overload. Laurence Scott, Wired, "Covid-19 and the New Intimacy," 1 June 2020 But Paro isn’t just a $6,000 piece of cute overload; underneath its cuddly fur lies sophisticated artificial intelligence designed to comfort people. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "There’s No Cure for Covid-19 Loneliness, but Robots Can Help," 22 June 2020 This redundancy failed us and resulted in an overload situation that was then compounded by other factors. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "T-Mobile’s outage yesterday was so big that even Ajit Pai is mad," 16 June 2020 These problematic stress-reactive circuits are encoded during adverse childhood experiences, and later experiences of stress overload. Laurel Mellin, The Conversation, "Want to stop the COVID-19 stress meltdown? Train your brain," 10 June 2020 Also, decoding a human on video chat, while not without its benefits, can lead to cognitive overload in people of all ages, though especially kids who are still learning how to understand verbal and nonverbal communication. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "How to engage preschoolers on Zoom when social bonding is more important than ever," 10 June 2020

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


1553, in the meaning defined above


1645, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for overload

Time Traveler

The first known use of overload was in 1553

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Statistics for overload

Last Updated

19 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overload.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overload. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for overload


How to pronounce overload (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overload

: to put too great a load on or in (something)
: to give too much work to (someone)
: to cause (something, such as an electrical circuit) to be used for too many things at the same time


over·​load | \ ˌō-vər-ˈlōd \
overloaded; overloading

Kids Definition of overload

: to put too great a load on or in

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Comments on overload

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