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[en-guhlf] /ɛnˈgʌlf/
verb (used with object)
to swallow up in or as in a gulf; submerge:
The overflowing river has engulfed many small towns along its banks.
to plunge or immerse, as into a gulf:
He engulfed himself in his studies.
Also, ingulf.
Origin of engulf
First recorded in 1545-55; en-1 + gulf
Related forms
engulfment, noun
1. envelop, bury, inundate, deluge, swamp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for engulfing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On the verandah the gliding figures were engulfing Franklin; he had fallen.

    The World Beyond Raymond King Cummings
  • The impulse returned to flee, to vanish in the engulfing wild of the mountains.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • The seas were engulfing the ship so that the officers could not see the waterspout at all.

  • Then it was that Eppie had been swept away by the engulfing relative.

    The Shadow of Life Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • His pupils dilated in the attempt to pierce the engulfing darkness.

    A Family of Noblemen Mikhal Saltykov
British Dictionary definitions for engulfing


verb (transitive)
to immerse, plunge, bury, or swallow up
(often passive) to overwhelm: engulfed by debts
Derived Forms
engulfment, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for engulfing



1550s, from en- (1) "make, put in" + gulf. Related: Engulfed; engulfing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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