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

overburden, overcharge, overfill

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Examples of overload in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When engineers, after inspecting the building, warned that the roof was overloaded, so thay has to add even more support beams. Richard A. Marini, ExpressNews.com, "These 3 industrial buildings were given a second life in downtown San Antonio," 21 June 2019 Achieving an even complexion is the goal, but overloading your face with layer after layer of foundation is a one-way ticket to Cakey City. April Franzino, Good Housekeeping, "How to Apply Foundation That Makes You Look Younger," 17 Oct. 2017 Because the Saints don’t want to overload the rookie second-round pick with too much info too early, McCoy manned the center position while veteran Nick Easton replaced Warford at right guard. Jeff Duncan, nola.com, "Jared Cook, Carl Granderson make positive impressions and other observations from Saints minicamp," 14 June 2019 This definitely gives me even more incentive to overload my shopping cart! Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "SkinStore’s Anniversary Sale Just Gave Me an Excuse to Buy More Beauty Products (As If I Needed One)," 15 Mar. 2019 The setup is riveting: four affluent Australian friends on a yachting holiday in the Timor Sea come across, in the distance, a fishing boat adrift and overloaded with refugees. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Which of These New TV International Thrillers Should You Binge?," 30 Aug. 2018 Vegetarians, sprinkle on a combo of cheeses like part-skim ricotta and shaved parmesan to avoid overloading on total calories or sodium. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "How Healthy Is Chickpea Pasta? A Dietitian Weighs In on Nutrition and Weight-Loss Benefits," 25 Mar. 2019 Before feeding ingredients into the processor’s tube, make sure to cut the food into small-sized chunks to avoid overloading the machine. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "The 7 Best Food Processors to Buy, According to Kitchen Appliance Experts," 1 Feb. 2019 Four months of bedrest had left me with atrophied muscles and a body overloaded with ice cream, antibiotics, and painkillers—this would be great test of Espace Chenot’s efficacy. Irena Medavoy, Town & Country, "How to Detox Like a Hollywood Power Player," 5 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Thus, the more candidates, the greater the choice overload, and the lower the voter turnout. Simple. Matt Wallaert, Quartz, "Having this many 2020 US Democratic candidates is not a bad thing," 26 June 2019 Her closet is an explosion of tie-dye, fishnets, vegan leather, cropped denim, rainbow stripes, shimmery metallics, and an overload of glitter. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Super-Hot Outfits Perfect for Your Next Concert," 28 Dec. 2018 The internet has given way to an overload of products, making the shopping industry more competitive than ever. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Let people hang out in your store and watch TV.," 3 Oct. 2018 The click-and-ship ease of e-commerce has contributed to our clothing overload. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "The Case for Buying Less Clothing," 4 Jan. 2019 Followers couldn't handle the adorableness overload, and took to the comment section to say just that. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Chip Gaines Shared the Most Adorable Photo of Baby Crew and Fans Are Freaking Out," 16 Oct. 2018 In this age of information overload, parenting advice is everywhere. Andrea Atkins, Woman's Day, "6 Things Kids Really Need," 26 Mar. 2010 Walk in, like Slive did that first day, and sensory overload is a real possibility. George Schroeder, USA TODAY, "Mornings at simple diner among best memories of former SEC commissioner Mike Slive," 16 May 2018 Even the runaway hit rom-com of 2018, Crazy Rich Asians, has a hint of ensemble-overload to it. Chloe Angyal, Marie Claire, "The Only Thing Worse Than Valentine's Day Is Valentine's Day," 14 Feb. 2019

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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Statistics for overload

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overload

The first known use of overload was in 1553

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on overload

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overload

Spanish Central: Translation of overload

Nglish: Translation of overload for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overload for Arabic Speakers

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