overwhelmed

adjective
over·whelmed | \ ˌō-vər-ˈhwelmd , -ˈwelmd \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overwhelmed

Share overwhelmed

Statistics for overwhelmed

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overwhelmed

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

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on overwhelmed

Nglish: Translation of overwhelmed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overwhelmed for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overwhelmed

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

WORD OF THE DAY

by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!