en·​gulf in-ˈgəlf How to pronounce engulf (audio)
engulfed; engulfing; engulfs

transitive verb

: to flow over and enclose : overwhelm
the mounting seas threatened to engulf the island
: to take in (food) by or as if by flowing over and enclosing
engulfment noun

Example Sentences

The valley was engulfed in a thick fog. high waves from the hurricane engulfed large areas of the coastal community
Recent Examples on the Web Andamo also puts volumes in big boots that engulf the knees or trailing pant hems. Colleen Barry, ajc, 25 Feb. 2023 There are floor-to-ceiling windows that engulf every side of the structure and let in the stunning views. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 24 Feb. 2023 Clad in the green patina of weathered bronze, the lampposts lining the historic Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct warded off the darkness that would otherwise engulf the spans. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2022 The case against the two men is linked to a nearly decade-old bribery probe into Petróleo Brasileiro, more commonly known as Petrobras, which began in 2014 and grew to engulf many of the country’s leading businessmen and politicians. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 17 Feb. 2023 An initial round of lashing rain, wind and snow has moved inland and is expected to engulf the Inter-mountain West on Wednesday. Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 28 Dec. 2022 Losses to Marshall and Stanford threatened to engulf Notre Dame's season and cast a negative spotlight on coach Marcus Freeman just six games into his tenure. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 20 Nov. 2022 On Sakurajima, each instrument (saxophone, guitar, drums) is a crucial point in the pyramid, forming cinematic soundscapes that engulf you in lava. Spin Staff, SPIN, 22 Dec. 2022 Gordon’s book offers a deep dive into the lives of two of its victims — her grandparents, Julie and Norbert Baum — whom their son tried in vain to save from the madness that would later engulf them. Dallas News, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'engulf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of engulf was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near engulf

Cite this Entry

“Engulf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engulf. Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


en·​gulf in-ˈgəlf How to pronounce engulf (audio)
: to flow over and enclose : overwhelm
engulfment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on engulf

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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