[ verb oh-ver-floh; noun oh-ver-floh ]
See synonyms for: overflowoverflowing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),o·ver·flowed, o·ver·flown, o·ver·flow·ing.
  1. to flow or run over, as rivers or water: After the thaw, the river overflows and causes great damage.

  2. to have the contents flowing over or spilling, as an overfull container: Stop pouring or your glass is going to overflow.

  1. to pass from one place or part to another as if flowing from an overfull space: The population overflowed into the adjoining territory.

  2. 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),o·ver·flowed, o·ver·flown, o·ver·flow·ing.
  1. to flow over; flood; inundate: The river overflowed several farms.

  2. to flow over or beyond (the brim, banks, borders, etc.).

  1. to cause to overflow.

  2. to flow over the edge or brim of (a receptacle, container, etc.).

  3. to fill to the point of running over.

  1. an overflowing: the annual overflow of the Nile.

  2. something that flows or runs over: to carry off the overflow from a fountain.

  1. a portion crowded out of an overfilled place: to house the overflow of the museum's collection in another building.

  2. an excess or superabundance: an overflow of applicants for the job.

  3. 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

Other words for overflow

Other words from overflow

  • o·ver·flow·a·ble, adjective
  • o·ver·flow·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·o·ver·flow·ing, adjective

Words Nearby overflow

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use overflow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for overflow


verb(ˌəʊvəˈfləʊ) -flows or -flowing or -flowed or formerly -flown
  1. to flow or run over (a limit, brim, bank, etc)

  2. to fill or be filled beyond capacity so as to spill or run over

  1. (intr usually foll by with) to be filled with happiness, tears, etc

  2. (tr) to spread or cover over; flood or inundate

  1. overflowing matter, esp liquid

  2. any outlet that enables surplus liquid to be discharged or drained off, esp one just below the top of a tank or cistern

  1. the amount by which a limit, capacity, etc, is exceeded

  2. 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