Try Our Apps


Blech. These are the grossest words.


[verb oh-ver-floh; noun oh-ver-floh] /verb ˌoʊ vərˈfloʊ; noun ˈoʊ vərˌfloʊ/
verb (used without object), overflowed, overflown, overflowing.
to flow or run over, as rivers or water:
After the thaw, the river overflows and causes great damage.
to have the contents flowing over or spilling, as an overfull container:
Stop pouring or your glass is going to overflow.
to pass from one place or part to another as if flowing from an overfull space:
The population overflowed into the adjoining territory.
to be filled or supplied with in great measure:
a heart overflowing with gratitude; a region overflowing with orchards and vineyards.
verb (used with object), overflowed, overflown, overflowing.
to flow over; flood; inundate:
The river overflowed several farms.
to flow over or beyond (the brim, banks, borders, etc.).
to cause to overflow.
to flow over the edge or brim of (a receptacle, container, etc.).
to fill to the point of running over.
an overflowing:
the annual overflow of the Nile.
something that flows or runs over:
to carry off the overflow from a fountain.
a portion crowded out of an overfilled place:
to house the overflow of the museum's collection in another building.
an excess or superabundance:
an overflow of applicants for the job.
an outlet or receptacle for excess liquid:
The tank is equipped with an overflow.
Origin of overflow
before 900; Middle English overflowen, Old English oferflōwan. See over-, flow
Related forms
overflowable, adjective
overflowingly, adverb
unoverflowing, adjective
13. overabundance, surplus, plethora, flood, glut. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for overflow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for overflow


verb (ˌəʊvəˈfləʊ) -flows, -flowing -flowed, (formerly) -flown
to flow or run over (a limit, brim, bank, etc)
to fill or be filled beyond capacity so as to spill or run over
(intransitive) usually foll by with. to be filled with happiness, tears, etc
(transitive) to spread or cover over; flood or inundate
noun (ˈəʊvəˌfləʊ)
overflowing matter, esp liquid
any outlet that enables surplus liquid to be discharged or drained off, esp one just below the top of a tank or cistern
the amount by which a limit, capacity, etc, is exceeded
(computing) a condition that occurs when numeric operations produce results too large to store in the memory space assigned to it
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for overflow

Old English oferfleow "to flow across, flood, inundate," also "to flow over (a brim or bank);" see over- + flow (v.). Related: Overflowed; overflowing.


1580s, "act of overflowing," from overflow (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
overflow in Technology

The condition that occurs when the result of a calculation is too big to store in the intended format. For example, the result of adding one to 255 cannot be represented as an unsigned, eight-bit integer. In a signed integer representation, overflow can occur when an integer becomes either too positive or too negative.
Overflow can also occur in the exponent of a floating point number representation. The term "underflow" is sometimes used for negative overflow of the exponent.
Ignoring overflow will result in nonsensicle results such as 255 + 1 = 0. At the hardware level, the ALU typically indicates overflow by setting an overflow flag bit which the program can test. Programming languages will typically respond to overflow by raising some kind of signal or other error condition to halt normal execution.
Some languages attempt to avoid overflow by providing (optional) variable length number representation (multiprecission arithmetic) so that the maximum number representable is limited only by the amount of storage available.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for overflow

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for overflow

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for overflow