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 As the virus threatens to overload the system, some doctors are even quitting. Irina Vilcu, Bloomberg.com, "In This European Country, Hospitals Are as Scary as the Coronavirus," 8 May 2020 And yet, in the European Union, Netflix and YouTube have actually degraded their picture quality to avoid overloading the Internet. CBS News, "With more working from home, our Internet undergoes a stress test," 5 Apr. 2020 Meanwhile, Maeve orchestrates her escape, enlisting Lee's help to overload the simulation's CPU in true classic sci-fi style. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Westworld S3, episode 2: Back in the game, breaking parks again," 22 Mar. 2020 The sudden crush of people holing up at home for school and work threatens to overload internet service across Europe. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Scribd makes their digital book collections free for 30 days," 20 Mar. 2020 City and county leaders stressed to the public not to panic and to avoid overloading emergency response services such as 911, emergency rooms and ambulances. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, "Malls yes, churches no: What we know about Dallas’ coronavirus-related ban on large gatherings," 13 Mar. 2020 When investors start to overload on one sector, that usually does not end well. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "The S&P 500 is really the S&P 5. Big tech dominates the index," 10 Feb. 2020 Instead, Barça failed to get a stranglehold on the match and the lively, energetic and fearless hosts came at the Spanish side with a purposeful game-plan to overload in wide areas and get the ball in the box. SI.com, "Slavia Prague 1-2 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as La Blaugrana Scrape Lucky Win," 23 Oct. 2019 The league has also reached out to various wireless providers to make sure there is extra bandwidth over the three days so that the grid isn't overloaded. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "What time, TV channel is NFL draft 2020? First-round draft order, watch online," 23 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The surge has not come without problems—in mid-March, Ocado had to shutter its website for almost a week, in order to deal with the overload—but investors seem confident that the automation-focused outfit can capitalize on the current moment. David Meyer, Fortune, "Coronavirus fallout: Most CFOs see a slow return to business as ‘near-normal’," 15 Apr. 2020 In a Harvard Business Review article about managing overload, psychologist and productivity expert Edward Hallowell, MD, explained similar brain processes. NBC News, "Should you be eating the same lunch every day?," 11 June 2019 The change allowed us to avoid many millions of deaths and extreme overload of the hospitals, which would also have increased deaths from other causes. Helen Branswell, STAT, "In long essay, Bill Gates says time and innovation needed before coronavirus lockdowns end," 23 Apr. 2020 For the most part, though, the fiery reds and muddy browns that characterized the last Doom are present here, along with an overload of generic death-metal imagery that would put a 12-year-old goth’s sketchbook to shame. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Doom Eternal is a masterful twitch shooter symphony with one sour note," 17 Mar. 2020 An overload of this hormone makes the males’ bodies literally start falling apart. Matt Simon, Wired, "This Marsupial Dies After Marathon Mating. Now It's Got Bigger Worries," 12 Feb. 2020 While an overload of plaid is typical Millie, the star went for a major change-up in her beauty routine. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Millie Bobby Brown Wore the Coolest Plaid Suit You’ve Ever Seen," 13 Jan. 2020 Much of the runoff from those altered acres finds its way to Lake Okeechobee, which is often choked with an inland algae bloom of putrid-​green cyanobacteria that feeds off an overload of nutrients. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "The Conservation Fight for Florida Water is Finally Seeing Progress," 6 Dec. 2019 The Mandalorian’ The service comes with an overload of feature films, TV shows and animated series. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Happy Birthday, Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Iconic Duo Turn 91 Days After Disney+ Launch," 18 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for overload

Time Traveler

The first known use of overload was in 1553

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Statistics for overload

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overload.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overload. Accessed 4 Jun. 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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