An example of overwhelm is for a teacher to assign students five lengthy papers due on the same day.
- to pour down upon and cover over or bury beneath
- to dominate, subdue, obliterate, etc. as because of superior or excessive strength; overpower
- to overcome emotionally: he was overwhelmed by their generosity
- Obs. to overthrow or overturn
Origin of overwhelmMiddle English oferwhelmen: see over- and whelm
transitive verbo·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
- To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
- a. To defeat completely and decisively: Our team overwhelmed the visitors by 40 points.b. To affect deeply in mind or emotion: Despair overwhelmed me.
- To present with an excessive amount: They overwhelmed us with expensive gifts.
- To turn over; upset: The small craft was overwhelmed by the enormous waves.
(third-person singular simple present overwhelms, present participle overwhelming, simple past and past participle overwhelmed)
- To engulf, surge over and submerge.
- The dinghy was overwhelmed by the great wave.
- To overpower, crush.
- In December 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland with overwhelming force.
- To overpower emotionally.
- He was overwhelmed with guilt.
- Joy overwhelmed her when she realized that she had won a million dollars.
- To cause to surround, to cover.
From over- +"Ž whelm, or rather Middle English whelmen.