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[en-guhlf] /ɛnˈgʌlf/
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.
Origin of engulf
1545-55; en-1 + gulf
Related forms
engulfment, noun
1. envelop, bury, inundate, deluge, swamp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for engulfment
Historical Examples
  • This engulfment is the sepulchre which assumes a tide, and which mounts from the depths of the earth towards a living man.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
  • This cess-pool offered its engulfment to the city and the universe.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
  • The central portions of the dome have since been removed by engulfment, or denudation, or by both these causes.

    Principles of Geology Charles Lyell
  • The first effect is instantaneous, then the engulfment becomes more gradual.

    A Tenderfoot Bride Clarice E. Richards
  • Beyond, the opaqueness was massive; to penetrate thither seemed horrible, an entrance into it appeared like an engulfment.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for engulfment


verb (transitive)
to immerse, plunge, bury, or swallow up
(often passive) to overwhelm: engulfed by debts
Derived Forms
engulfment, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for engulfment



1550s, from en- (1) "make, put in" + gulf. Related: Engulfed; engulfing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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