Definition of overwhelm in English:

overwhelm

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Bury or drown beneath a huge mass.

    ‘the water flowed through to overwhelm the whole dam and the village beneath’
    • ‘The cool water overwhelmed me as much as it did him.’
    • ‘I would later dream of this same thing: walls closing in on me, drowning and overwhelming me.’
    • ‘There are fears Hurricane Katrina could be just as deadly if it breaks New Orleans' levees and overwhelms the city's water and sewage systems.’
    • ‘Plants in Taiwan, for example, may overwhelm the whole building into which they are integrated because they are ‘extremely strong’.’
    • ‘Hours before the worst of Hurricane Rita ravages the Texas and Louisiana coasts, water overwhelms or overtops a newly patched levee.’
    • ‘Sure enough, the ship is suddenly pulled down under the water and overwhelmed without explanation or warning by a massive explosion of waves.’
    • ‘One sure sign of how these systems are overwhelmed with water is when the trees quickly die.’
    • ‘The Okayama prefectural police believe the woman drowned after high tides overwhelmed her home in the coastal town Kurashiki.’
    • ‘He reminds us that He will be with us and that the water will not overwhelm us, He will intervene and deliver us.’
    • ‘Peter is surely talking of the total world system in each case: the water overwhelmed it last time, the fire will consume it next time.’
    • ‘They prefer clear water in small lakes and ponds that are not overwhelmed with submergent and emergent vegetation and which do not support populations of fish.’
    • ‘They woke up with water in their homes and their cars overwhelmed with water.’
    • ‘An earthquake in ad 62 caused serious damage, while the eruption of Vesuvius on 24 August ad 79 overwhelmed the whole town.’
    • ‘Not a technically challenging paddle, but the sheer volume of water is enough to overwhelm inexperienced boaters.’
    • ‘Ms Liberty is almost drowned and the city overwhelmed by a colossal tsunami.’
    • ‘Huge waves overwhelmed the levees and 80% of New Orleans was flooded.’
    swamp, submerge, engulf, bury, deluge, flood, inundate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Defeat completely.
      ‘his teams overwhelmed their opponents’
      • ‘They overwhelmed their opponents up front with a powerful forward display that left Newcastle struggling to make any sort of impact.’
      • ‘He is not a busy fighter who overwhelms his opponents with non-stop punching.’
      • ‘Those who had stayed away from the match in Tuam, where Roscommon's support was overwhelmed by the home side, were intent on making good on this occasion.’
      • ‘Tadcaster Magnet have gone into pole position in division five after overwhelming a Dringhouses side who were whipped out for only 74 after choosing to bat first.’
      • ‘Abruptly, a whole pack of Minotaurs erupted from the underbrush, and easily overwhelmed Jessant's team.’
      • ‘The home side's winning margin was flattering, however, as they added 1-4 in the final stages to overwhelm a gusty Sligo side.’
      • ‘This also needs to work because the Falcons' defense, though improved from last year, still isn't good enough to overwhelm opponents.’
      • ‘That alone was easily enough to overwhelm their depleted and dispirited numbers, but the army outside also numbered several battalions of foot soldiers.’
      • ‘Morton contributed, but were finally overwhelmed by a superior side.’
      • ‘Played in Direen, the Spa novice team was overwhelmed by a much better Rathmore side in the East Kerry Novice Championship Final.’
      • ‘At Claremorris on Sunday afternoon, the visitors overwhelmed the home side with an emphatic victory.’
      • ‘The Army team was up to the challenge and put every effort into overwhelming the Navy side, earning a 46-8 victory for Army.’
      • ‘Last year's conquering village were overwhelmed by a team with the kind of attitude a county manager would kill for.’
      • ‘In seven minutes of the second half, it began to look as if the home team, the Premiership team, would overwhelm their visitors.’
      • ‘From the kick-off the spectators roared on the Catalans who overwhelmed their opponents, creating at least a dozen chances in the first half alone.’
      • ‘The Wehrmacht, not anticipating a winter campaign, then ran out of steam and was overwhelmed by Soviet armies newly raised, unbeknown to the Germans.’
      • ‘Unlike at Fulham, they were not overwhelmed by a superior side but, by their own failings, they offered their opponents all the encouragement they needed.’
      • ‘Glencastle overwhelmed their opponents in both semi-final and final appearances in the large School girls competition.’
      • ‘That team speed will overwhelm the Bucs' offense, which has been clicking of late.’
      • ‘Londesbrough Park strengthened their promotion bid when they completely overwhelmed a hapless Selby side who were shot out for only 71.’
      defeat, defeat easily, defeat heavily, defeat utterly, trounce, rout, beat, beat hollow, conquer, vanquish, be victorious over, gain a victory over, prevail over, get the better of, triumph over
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.
      ‘they were overwhelmed by farewell messages’
      • ‘We are overwhelmed by information, so conveying a message that sticks is tougher than ever.’
      • ‘But that doesn't mean I have to let them do it here, especially when someone is dropping dozens of messages in short periods of time to overwhelm the conversation.’
      • ‘We have been overwhelmed by the messages of support for Asa, and the genuine concern from people about his condition.’
      • ‘My mum, Emily, and I were overwhelmed by the volume of messages of condolence we received, and by the number of people who turned up to his funeral last Tuesday.’
      • ‘But once the messages descend I remain overwhelmed by the avalanche of letters, information, bulletins and, of course, junk email.’
      • ‘Government rules, plans, and preparations were soon rapidly overwhelmed by a mass unplanned exodus to the safety of provincial villages.’
      • ‘Grayston school was not immediately available for comment, as its telephones were being overwhelmed by calls from concerned parents, a secretary said.’
      • ‘The script sends only one message, so we don't overwhelm the recipient.’
      • ‘The mother realises she is not alone when she asks if others also feel overwhelmed by parenthood.’
      • ‘Sure, Stephanie's parents get overwhelmed by all the pets in the house, but they're animal lovers too.’
      • ‘This would seem to be from someone in an interesting state of mind, or perhaps someone who wants the e-mail address given in the message to be overwhelmed with traffic.’
      • ‘He has been overwhelmed by messages of congratulations from all over South Africa at his appointment.’
      • ‘Since her mother became ill, earlier this year, Lillian said she had been overwhelmed by the messages of support from friends and neighbours.’
      • ‘She is overwhelmed by the parental duties she now bears.’
      • ‘At Holy Cross High, the school was overwhelmed by a large number of parents standing in a long queue with their children waiting to be admitted.’
      • ‘Parents are often overwhelmed with grief, and the family physician's support and recommendations for counseling are important.’
      • ‘It died when Dean allowed the ‘movement’ to become the message, and overwhelm Iowa with orange-capped kids from elsewhere.’
      • ‘The target's internet servers are overwhelmed by junk messages’
      • ‘Lisa, on the other hand, will be overwhelmed by sources, inundated by a fairly noisy background.’
      • ‘The shop has become a Scottish literary institution for many and staff have been overwhelmed with messages of support.’
    3. 1.3usually be overwhelmed Have a strong emotional effect on.
      ‘I was overwhelmed with guilt’
      • ‘I suddenly felt panic overwhelming me, shoving its way through my lack of emotion.’
      • ‘The people are overwhelmed with excitement and emotion.’
      • ‘She increasingly saw suicide as the only way of coping with overwhelming emotions and freeing herself of her increasing sense of despair.’
      • ‘Gideon began to shake in front of her as emotion overwhelmed him.’
      • ‘Her emotions and worries were overwhelming her and Cameron would provide an outlet.’
      • ‘And that's why the feeling of missing her, the feeling of sadness, was so overwhelming at those times.’
      • ‘On her way, Mark came rushing into the office and wrapping his arms around Angela, who, suddenly overwhelmed with emotion broke down.’
      • ‘The survivor may be overwhelmed by confusing emotions - fear, grief, guilt, shame, rage.’
      • ‘Now her whole body was overwhelmed with rage and anger and hurt and pain.’
      • ‘Everything was coming back, and already, Tanya felt a myriad of conflicting emotions overwhelming her.’
      • ‘I am completely overwhelmed by the response to the awards so far.’
      • ‘The organizers were totally overwhelmed by the response.’
      • ‘Up until that moment, Ian had blocked out the sheer size of the catastrophe, and his senses were suddenly overwhelmed by scene of suffering surrounding him.’
      • ‘I felt so overwhelmed by this feeling that I began to cry.’
      • ‘Both the mothers flinched at the coldness in his voice, and Mrs. Trousdale was suddenly overwhelmed with guilt.’
      • ‘And men won't be insulted, they will be overwhelmed with gratitude.’
      • ‘The danger of feminine emotion was its tendency to overwhelm women, to drown them in a flood of their own sympathy and sentiment.’
      • ‘When I hear them, I'm overwhelmed with emotion, because I can remember what it was like then, or what I was doing then.’
      • ‘She was overwhelmed by the huge number of people that had attended the service.’
      • ‘We were absolutely overwhelmed by the huge welcome we received at the airport.’
      overcome, move, stir, affect, touch, impress, sweep someone off their feet, strike, stun, make emotional, dumbfound, shake, disturb, devastate, take aback, daze, spellbind, dazzle, floor, leave speechless, take someone's breath away, stagger
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Be too strong for; overpower.
      ‘the wine doesn't overwhelm the flavor of the trout’
      • ‘Peppermint can overwhelm more subtle flavors, but the leaves make a tasty garnish for desserts like chocolate mousse.’
      • ‘The tuna was somewhat overwhelmed by the other flavours.’
      • ‘This wasn't bad, but the Gorgonzola overwhelmed all the other flavors.’
      • ‘Always add smaller amounts of stronger components to avoid overwhelming the other flavors.’
      • ‘They were also very liberal with the basil, which might appeal to you if you're a huge fan of the stuff, though I myself found the strong taste overwhelmed the other flavours.’
      • ‘But the message never overwhelms the music; it's come out at the ideal time as the easy pace of this album makes it ideal for lying in sun-drenched fields to.’
      • ‘That's good news for those who enjoy a glass of wine that doesn't overwhelm the food.’
      • ‘The abundance of rich, hot flavours can overwhelm the wine.’
      • ‘Her curiosity overwhelmed her common sense, and she took a cautious step towards the site.’
      • ‘At every sacrifice, this immense wave of emotion overwhelmed his sense of empathy.’
      • ‘The fine grain and compact texture of these barrels endow the wine with delicate tannins that manifest themselves slowly, in small amounts, without overwhelming the wine.’
      • ‘The super-ripe flavors of the Barbaresco seemed more one-dimensional and to overwhelm the myriad of nuances that the other two wines promised to deliver in the future.’
      • ‘If you've got liverwurst and onions rolling around down there, the delicate flavors of chocolate get overwhelmed.’
      • ‘Vintage Shiraz fruit flavours overwhelm the palate with layers of plum and bitter dark chocolate giving the wine a savoury richness.’
      • ‘The Japanese style overwhelms the setting and flavour of the Romans.’
      • ‘Big flavors require bitterness to cut through the flavors without overwhelming the dish.’
      • ‘Here the sumptuous richness of digital video is brought to an extreme, an impressionistic dazzle which almost overwhelms, the play of light and color as vivid and subtle as Monet, but moving, and richly attended with sounds.’
      • ‘The soup was pleasantly light, although I found that the store-bought vegetable stock somewhat overwhelmed the soup's mushroom flavour.’
      • ‘This was a bit of a weird one, with the birds really drenched in the sauce - maybe they overdid it a little bit, as the dressing overwhelmed the quails' natural flavour somewhat.’
      • ‘Tara thought that, when eaten with a spoon, the wine overwhelms the peaches.’

Pronunciation

overwhelm

/ˌōvərˈ(h)welm/