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 formsen·gulf·ment, noun

Synonyms for engulf

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for engulfing

Contemporary Examples of engulfing

Historical Examples of engulfing

  • 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 (tr)

to immerse, plunge, bury, or swallow up
(often passive) to overwhelmengulfed by debts
Derived Formsengulfment, 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

Word Origin and History for engulfing



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper