- 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.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for overflow on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for overflow
Pope Francis urged the local parish to open up a closed monastery on the island to house the overflow.Italian Shipwreck Survivors to be Prosecuted and Fined
Barbie Latza Nadeau
October 7, 2013
“Barack Obama believes America is in need of great change,” Santorum said to the overflow crowd of 2,500.Rick Santorum Goes After Obama in Feisty Georgia Speech
February 20, 2012
The overflow crowds were thinning out—and he was becoming less of a novelty.Santorum’s New Hampshire Expectations Plummet as Iowa Glow Wears Off
January 10, 2012
An hour to the north, at the rural Tilton School, Mitt Romney faced his own overflow crowd beneath quietly humming ceiling fans.Mitt Romney Soars, Rick Santorum Struggles as They Battle in the New Hampshire Primary
January 7, 2012
An overflow room was required so that late-comers could watch the putative frontrunner on a large-screen television.Newt Gingrich Shape-Shifts Through New Hampshire
December 16, 2011
Whenever he was fresh and full of spirits, he had enough to overflow upon her and every one.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
There was also an outlet to the street to carry off the overflow.Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae
He was ladling the pobs into the child's mouth, and scooping the overflow from her chin.The Manxman
Further, on this day year, the city will overflow once more with wealth and beauty.Cyropaedia
He was feeding himself ferociously and seemed to overflow with bitterness.Falk
- to flow or run over (a limit, brim, bank, etc)
- to fill or be filled beyond capacity so as to spill or run over
- (intr usually foll by with) to be filled with happiness, tears, etc
- (tr) to spread or cover over; flood or inundate
- 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
Word Origin and History for overflow
1580s, "act of overflowing," from overflow (v.).