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

Examples of overwhelmed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For example, at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, one recent morning, the facility was overwhelmed with more flights than there were gates. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 But in reality, those who suddenly see their wealth balloon overnight can wind up feeling more overwhelmed than overjoyed. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 5 Sep. 2023 In one of Uiagalelei’s first games in the higher league, his overwhelmed offensive line was no match for an opposing defensive front, and Uiagalelei took a beating. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 1 Sep. 2023 By comparison, at the height of the initial omicron surge, about 4,500 people were hospitalized with the virus statewide as emergency departments were overwhelmed with sick patients, and businesses and schools shut down because so many workers and students were sick. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 30 Aug. 2023 For those of us who may get a bit overwhelmed by outfit planning for an upcoming trip fashion blogger Emily Schuman has a seamless packing tip that may eliminate any stress. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 28 Aug. 2023 But even in places overwhelmed by despair and devastation, the Hawaiian spirit known as 'ohana endures. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2023 The overwhelmed sewer system experienced backups and overflows. John Benson, cleveland, 25 Aug. 2023 Though only a fraction of the range can be found online, a pilgrimage to the firm’s Place Vendome flagship is a must—but prepare to be overwhelmed (in the best way) with the extensive offerings. Naomi Rougeau, Robb Report, 25 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overwhelmed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near overwhelmed

Cite this Entry

“Overwhelmed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overwhelmed. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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