verb (used with object)
to swallow up in or as in a gulf; submerge: The overflowing river has engulfed many small towns along its banks.
to plunge or immerse, as into a gulf: He engulfed himself in his studies.
Also, ingulf.

1545–55; en-1 + gulf

engulfment, noun

1. envelop, bury, inundate, deluge, swamp.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
engulf or ingulf (ɪnˈɡʌlf)
1.  to immerse, plunge, bury, or swallow up
2.  (often passive) to overwhelm: engulfed by debts
ingulf or ingulf
en'gulfment or ingulf

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1550s, from en- "make, put in" + gulf. Related: Engulfed; engulfing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
They have developed a journal-publishing culture that threatens to engulf them.
The changes that are about to engulf the wireless industry are as
  technologically disruptive as was the first mobile phone itself.
Periodically, great dust storms engulf the entire planet.
Maybe it happened to you this morning: you entered the shower and the curtain
  moved in to engulf you.
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