verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Origin of flood

before 900; Middle English flod (noun), Old English flōd; cognate with Gothic flōdus, Old High German fluot (German Flut)
Related formsflood·a·ble, adjectiveflood·er, nounflood·less, adjectiveflood·like, adjectiveo·ver·flood, verbpre·flood, adjectiveun·der·flood, verbun·flood·ed, adjectivewell-flood·ed, adjective

Synonyms for flood

1. Flood, flash flood, deluge, freshet, inundation refer to the overflowing of normally dry areas, often after heavy rains. Flood is usually applied to the overflow of a great body of water, as, for example, a river, although it may refer to any water that overflows an area: a flood along the river; a flood in a basement. A flash flood is one that comes so suddenly that no preparation can be made against it; it is usually destructive, but begins almost at once to subside: a flash flood caused by a downpour. Deluge suggests a great downpouring of water, sometimes with destruction: The rain came down in a deluge. Freshet suggests a small, quick overflow such as that caused by heavy rains: a freshet in an abandoned watercourse. Inundation, a literary word, suggests the covering of a great area of land by water: the inundation of thousands of acres. 8, 9. inundate, deluge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flood

Contemporary Examples of flood

Historical Examples of flood

  • Here the tumult of mingled emotion subsided in a flood of tears.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Uncle Peter stood in a flood of light at the door of his room.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Fortunately, there was just then a flood of evening sunshine in the air.

  • Miss Dasomma threw her arms about her, and broke into a flood of congratulation.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • If reproved, she would reply with a flood of injurious words.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for flood



  1. the inundation of land that is normally dry through the overflowing of a body of water, esp a river
  2. the state of a river that is at an abnormally high level (esp in the phrase in flood)Related adjective: diluvial
a great outpouring or flowa flood of words
  1. the rising of the tide from low to high water
  2. (as modifier)the flood tide Compare ebb (def. 3)
theatre short for floodlight
archaic a large body of water, as the sea or a river


(of water) to inundate or submerge (land) or (of land) to be inundated or submerged
to fill or be filled to overflowing, as with a floodthe children's home was flooded with gifts
(intr) to flow; surgerelief flooded through him
to supply an excessive quantity of petrol to (a carburettor or petrol engine) or (of a carburettor, etc) to be supplied with such an excess
(intr) to rise to a flood; overflow
  1. to bleed profusely from the uterus, as following childbirth
  2. to have an abnormally heavy flow of blood during a menstrual period
Derived Formsfloodable, adjectiveflooder, nounfloodless, adjective

Word Origin for flood

Old English flōd; related to Old Norse flōth, Gothic flōdus, Old High German fluot flood, Greek plōtos navigable; see flow, float




the Flood Old Testament the flood extending over all the earth from which Noah and his family and livestock were saved in the ark. (Genesis 7–8); the Deluge




Henry . 1732–91, Anglo-Irish politician: leader of the parliamentary opposition to English rule
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 flood

Old English flod "a flowing of water, flood, an overflowing of land by water, Noah's Flood; mass of water, river, sea, wave," from Proto-Germanic *flothuz (cf. Old Frisian flod, Old Norse floð, Middle Dutch vloet, Dutch vloed, German Flut, Gothic flodus), from PIE verbal stem *pleu- "flow, float" (see pluvial). Figurative use by mid-14c.


1660s, from flood (n.). Related: Flooded; flooding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for flood



A temporary rise of the water level, as in a river or lake or along a seacoast, resulting in its spilling over and out of its natural or artificial confines onto land that is normally dry. Floods are usually caused by excessive runoff from precipitation or snowmelt, or by coastal storm surges or other tidal phenomena.♦ Floods are sometimes described according to their statistical occurrence. A fifty-year flood is a flood having a magnitude that is reached in a particular location on average once every fifty years. In any given year there is a two percent statistical chance of the occurrence of a fifty-year flood and a one percent chance of a hundred-year flood.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.