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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for overload

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of overload in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What Southgate won’t be doing is trying to overload the starting XI against Croatia with too many of the exciting attacking options and leave it unbalanced. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 13 June 2021 Denial-of-service attacks swarm requests at systems in huge volumes, attempting to overload their capacity to take them down. James Rundle, WSJ, 11 June 2021 Here are a bunch of pictures to overload you on cuteness. cleveland, 22 June 2021 Memo to Jimbo: Don’t let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird butt. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, 6 May 2021 Hamas used a greater number of missiles in an attempt to overload Israel's Iron Dome air defense system, which protects cities from rocket attacks. USA Today, 28 May 2021 The bowl, even in an 11-cup machine, is easy to overload, especially for recipes designed for larger loaves or batches. Washington Post, 17 May 2021 In some cases, people overload boats and alcohol is involved, Mareska said. Audrey Jensen, The Arizona Republic, 15 May 2021 Red snapper must be at least 20 pounds to weigh in, an effort to be conservative with the fishery and not overload weigh stations. Matt Wyatt, San Antonio Express-News, 1 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And no shade to grocery store staples like Stella Rosa wines, but sparkling wine doesn’t always include an overload of intense, coarse bubbles with tons of sweetness. Amelia Goe, The Arizona Republic, 30 July 2021 Direct mail marketing continues to deliver a personal and tangible alternative for customers suffering from screen overload, which will be more important than ever as the country slowly returns to normal. Michael Plummer, Forbes, 28 June 2021 The Giants had an overload of left-handed batters, including Wade and Tauchman. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 June 2021 Pandemic stress overload has caused postural problems as well. Fiorella Valdesolo, WSJ, 6 May 2021 Visitors to the Milwaukee County Zoo who are sensitive to sensory overload will now be able to have a more pleasant experience as a result of the zoo's sensory inclusion certification. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 June 2021 More than one-third of employees said email and message overload may lead them to quit their jobs. Bryan Robinson, Forbes, 2 June 2021 The impact on pop is demonstrable, from the endless possibilities of the slippery, savvy genre-hopping of Rina Sawayama to the sensory overload of 100 gecs records and beyond. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 1 Feb. 2021 Exactly the opposite: We get sucked into short-sightedness by quotidian tasks, social media, and data overload. Chris Lowney, Forbes, 22 June 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of overload


1553, in the meaning defined above


1645, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best luggage of 2021.

Learn More About overload

Time Traveler for overload

Time Traveler

The first known use of overload was in 1553

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near overload




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for overload

Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overload.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overload. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overload



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

More from Merriam-Webster on overload

Nglish: Translation of overload for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overload for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!