- to overcome completely in mind or feeling: overwhelmed by remorse.
- to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush: Roman troops were overwhelmed by barbarians.
- to cover or bury beneath a mass of something, as floodwaters, debris, or an avalanche; submerge: Lava from erupting Vesuvius overwhelmed the city of Pompeii.
- to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything: a child overwhelmed with presents; to overwhelm someone with questions.
- to overthrow.
Origin of overwhelm
Related Words for overwhelmcrush, inundate, deluge, rout, overpower, swamp, overrun, engulf, submerge, defeat, destroy, overcome, confound, disturb, dumbfound, bewilder, upset, puzzle, shock, confuse
Examples from the Web for overwhelm
Contemporary Examples of overwhelm
He used his strength to overwhelm defenders but he also had nifty footwork, soft hands, and was a beautiful passer.Shaq, Year One
Charles P. Pierce
May 24, 2014
Everywhere around you and inside you are possibilities you must always keep open, yet never let overwhelm you.Big Business Bullies Americans into the Machinery of Common Core
March 20, 2014
Like all barbiturates, it can overwhelm alertness to the point of stopping the urge to breathe.The Death Penalty’s Gruesome Truth
February 6, 2014
On the negative side, the sheer tonnage of opinions can overwhelm and cause a degree of amnesia.The Best Columns of the Year
December 31, 2013
You reach a point where your frustrations just overwhelm and things have to change.The Filibuster Fight Ain’t Over
November 21, 2013
Historical Examples of overwhelm
As for Garson, once again the surge of feeling threatened to overwhelm his self-control.Within the Law
His intention was not to overwhelm his wife with bitter reproaches.The Secret Agent
Powerful tribes, like the Romans, Saxons and Normans, have tried to overwhelm them.Welsh Fairy Tales
William Elliott Griffis
We should indeed survey and prepare for danger, but we should never suffer it to overwhelm us.Imogen
The mud of those greasy streets had risen up all around to overwhelm him!The Fat and the Thin
- to overpower the thoughts, emotions, or senses of
- to overcome with irresistible force
- to overcome, as with a profusion or concentration of something
- to cover over or bury completely
- to weigh or rest upon overpoweringly
- archaic to overturn
Word Origin and History for overwhelm
early 14c., "to turn upside down, to overthrow," from over- + Middle English whelmen "to turn upside down" (see whelm). Meaning "to submerge completely" is mid-15c. Perhaps the connecting notion is a boat, etc., washed over, and overset, by a big wave. Figurative sense of "to bring to ruin" is attested from 1520s. Related: Overwhelmed; overwhelming; overwhelmingly.