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

transitive verb

: to load (something or someone) to excess: such as
: 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
: 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
: 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


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over·​load ˈō-vər-ˌlōd How to pronounce overload (audio)
plural overloads
: 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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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
As temperatures soared into the triple digits throughout California, officials warned the high energy usage, including from cranking up air conditioning, could overload the energy grid and bring rolling blackouts. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2022 Attempts to overload the word with these other kinds of seeming akin activities though of an entirely unrelated-to-unionization nature is potentially misleading and confounding. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2022 Don’t overload your son with a sense of loss and sadness over this. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 31 May 2022 Don’t overload your son with a sense of loss and sadness over this. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 31 May 2022 Don’t overload your son with a sense of loss and sadness over this. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 31 May 2022 Even on a relatively quiet weekday, enough people dialed 911 to overload the city’s fragile emergency-response system, creating backlogs for police and forcing residents to sit and wait. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 May 2022 Even the ability to call 911 isn’t a good reason, because an entire school full of people calling at once could overload a switchboard. Heather Kelly, Washington Post, 1 June 2022 If teams overload on Dončić, LaVine is fully capable of spotting up, or creating a look himself off his elite athleticism and bouncy on-ball game. Morten Jensen, Forbes, 28 May 2022
Why audiences tune out Aside from the threats to people’s attention posed by our distracting technologies and information overload, there is also the fact of crisis fatigue leading readers to consume less news. Rebecca Rozelle-stone, The Conversation, 6 Sep. 2022 Fitness enthusiasts practice progressive overload, gradually increasing the weight, repetitions or frequency of an exercise. Samantha Chery, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2022 There are many ways to integrate eccentric overload training into your weekly routine. Men's Health, 29 Aug. 2022 Restore funding for playtime, music and art in school and de-emphasize academic overload. Tyler Black, Scientific American, 22 Aug. 2022 The Sunday scaries may also happen because of a social overload that happens during the weekend. CNN, 14 Aug. 2022 Attempting a product overload at home can wreck your surfaces and plumbing. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 31 July 2022 Work overload is a direct result of an overabundance of workflow. Bill Adams, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Information overload and constant digital stimulation has prompted us to compulsively seek refuge in our cultural past, where characters, story lines, and hit singles are reliable and predictable. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 13 June 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1553, in the meaning defined above


1645, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overload was in 1553

Dictionary Entries Near overload

Cite this Entry

“Overload.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overload. Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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Kids Definition



overloaded; overloading
: to put too great a load on or in

More from Merriam-Webster on overload

Last Updated: 18 Sep 2022

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