over·​whelmed | \ ˌō-vər-ˈ(h)welmd How to pronounce overwhelmed (audio) \

Definition of overwhelmed

1 : overcome by force or numbers Some jurisdictions are so overwhelmed that they are experimenting with routing school-children into specially designed courts that would keep first-time offenders from being saddled with an arrest record.— Gary Fields and John R. Emshwiller Only three Coast Guard rescue helicopters had managed to get into the air, and each was already overwhelmed by dozens of calls for help.— Christopher Cooper and Robert Block "We were overwhelmed," said John Robinson, the Rams' coach. "Clearly dominated."— Paul Zimmerman
2 : completely overcome or overpowered by thought or feeling When he first appeared in full regalia, I was overwhelmed.— Jane Davison Suddenly he felt overwhelmed by a wash of terror.— Holly Black He finds that the institutions that might compensate for what overwhelmed parents are unable to do are themselves undermined by stingy public policies.— Lisbeth B. Schorr

First Known Use of overwhelmed

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of overwhelmed was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Overwhelmed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overwhelmed. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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