Definition of engulf in US English:

engulf

verb

[with object]
  • 1(of a natural force) sweep over (something) so as to surround or cover it completely.

    ‘the cafe was engulfed in flames’
    figurative ‘Europe might be engulfed by war’
    • ‘After failing to get to the girls, Waddington ran from her home screaming to the neighbours for help just before the house was completely engulfed in flames and smoke.’
    • ‘The family's terrace house was quickly engulfed in flames.’
    • ‘A woman was plucked from a car seconds before it was engulfed in flames.’
    • ‘Within minutes, however, the entire city was engulfed in a torrent of rain - easily one of the heaviest in recent times.’
    • ‘Teachers, students and parents stood behind yellow police tape and watched dumbfounded as their school was engulfed in amber flames.’
    • ‘All of a sudden the place was engulfed in massive red and yellow flames.’
    • ‘When the police arrived 20 minutes later, the bus was still engulfed in flames, which hampered rescue efforts.’
    • ‘The place was already engulfed in flames when he and his roommate Jerome awoke.’
    • ‘Pedestrians were stopped in their tracks and cars came to standstill as the huge blanket of smoke threatened to engulf the whole town.’
    • ‘Are these a coincidence, or has an evil force engulfed the town?’
    • ‘The bus driver and two passengers fled from the bus seconds before it was engulfed in flames in St George's Road, last week.’
    • ‘The rain stopped and the sun crept out, engulfing the whole garden with its pale gold afternoon light.’
    • ‘In three minutes, the club was engulfed in flames.’
    • ‘Its corridors were engulfed in choking smoke as the fire took hold.’
    • ‘However, the country was soon engulfed in a bloody civil war in which one million people lost their lives out of a population of 14 million.’
    • ‘When they arrived on the scene, the house was engulfed in flames with the blaze having spread to the upstairs area of the family home.’
    • ‘He said by the time he arrived home, his entire house was engulfed in flames.’
    • ‘Mr Swales said flames were coming out of the front door and the living room was engulfed in fire.’
    • ‘This caused a catastrophic flood that engulfed the whole island.’
    • ‘Consider the unprecedented scenes of anarchy and chaos that engulfed Britain last Monday night.’
    inundate, flood, deluge, immerse, swamp, wash out, swallow up, submerge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Eat or swallow (something) whole.
      ‘the toad can engulf nestling birds’
      • ‘Bill reported a 12-foot tiger shark that burst out of the water behind his boat and engulfed the propeller with its jaws.’
      • ‘As a pair of white lips engulfed the bait and turned downwards, the first fish was hooked.’
      • ‘The fish had fully engulfed the mackerel.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (formerly also as ingulf): from en-, in- ‘in, on’ + gulf.

Pronunciation