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 What’s more, there’s evidence to suggest that merely hearing too many lies can both overload the brain and reinforce a lie. Jeff Stibel, USA TODAY, "This is why liars can outsmart your brain," 11 Sep. 2019 For all the hype, the sensory overloaded dining room truly delivers. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Lynn Wyatt and the Rothko Chapel takeover MAD restaurant in River Oaks District for VIP dinner," 30 Aug. 2019 The report notes that the public emphasis Trump administration officials placed on entering the country through ports of entry may have overloaded those facilities, which can process only a certain number of asylum seekers at a time. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "U.S. Government Watchdog Reports Faults in DHS Migrant Family Separation Policy," 2 Oct. 2018 Such error messages occur when an Internet service provider suspends a site, and could mean that it has been overloaded by traffic or that an order has gone out to take it down. Hannah Beech, BostonGlobe.com, "The Thai palace posted photos of the king’s consort. Then the website went down.," 27 Aug. 2019 Such error messages occur when an internet service provider suspends a site, and could mean that it has been overloaded by traffic or that an order has gone out to take it down. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "The Thai Palace Posted Photos of the King’s Consort. Then the Website Went Down.," 27 Aug. 2019 Attorneys said they were overloaded, a longtime problem and under court supervision at DCFS. Washington Post, "Embattled Illinois welfare agency praised for training lab," 23 Aug. 2019 Mack carried the ball 20 times on Sunday, 25 times against the Chargers; Indianapolis doesn’t want to overload its budding star. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Back early from surgery, Colts RB Jordan Wilkins breaks open win over Titans in home state," 16 Sep. 2019 Just as a suspect can be mentally overloaded into a confession, the brain can become overloaded with information and simply give up on trying to determine right from wrong. Jeff Stibel, USA TODAY, "This is why liars can outsmart your brain," 11 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Does more artist involvement reveal a concern about their music enduring in an age of information overload? Christian Science Monitor, "The Culture | Music," 7 June 2019 The effect of that, faculty say, is to pack their classes and overload counselors. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "CCSF students protest hefty pay raises for executives amid budget cuts," 12 Sep. 2019 Data overload For the new analysis, Peterson turned to data collected across the Americas in 2018 by the GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites, which zip around some 22,000 miles above the ground. Michael Peterson, National Geographic, "Record-breaking lightning as long as Kansas spotted," 22 Aug. 2019 Among them: enormous volatility, and exchange overloads. Bloomberg News, The Mercury News, "10-minute, $1,800 plunge shows Bitcoin’s volatility," 27 June 2019 To prepare for the partnership, Akron Marathon staff and volunteers will be participating in a certification process to help them support guests and fans with sensory needs and to give them tips on how to handle a sensory overload situation. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland.com, "It’s Lobsterfest time again in Brecksville and you’re invited: Talk of the Towns," 29 Aug. 2019 As a part of the certification about 700 game-day and full-time Eagles employees were trained how to recognize and help fans who might be experiencing a sensory overload situation, Hammond told CNN. Lauren Del Valle, CNN, "Philadelphia Eagles open sensory room for fans with autism," 9 Aug. 2019 The choice overload effect is very robust and has been replicated by behavioral scientists many times over. Matt Wallaert, Quartz, "Having this many 2020 US Democratic candidates is not a bad thing," 26 June 2019 District officials, however, cautioned that too many fans in one building could strain the aging systems and cause an electrical overload. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "About 50 Baltimore schools without air-conditioning dismiss early due to heat on second day of class," 4 Sep. 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

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for overload

The first known use of overload was in 1553

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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

What made you want to look up overload? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread as a report or rumor

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