[oh-ver-hwelm, -welm]
verb (used with object)
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.

1300–50; Middle English; see over-, whelm

unoverwhelmed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To overwhelm
World English Dictionary
overwhelm (ˌəʊvəˈwɛlm)
1.  to overpower the thoughts, emotions, or senses of
2.  to overcome with irresistible force
3.  to overcome, as with a profusion or concentration of something
4.  to cover over or bury completely
5.  to weigh or rest upon overpoweringly
6.  archaic to overturn

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

early 14c., "to turn upside down, to overthrow," from over + M.E. 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: Overwhelming; overwhelmingly.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
All the design claims may overwhelm the potential buyer.
But there are certain anti-stimuli that overwhelm even my well-honed capacity
  for fascination.
The unfree nations will grow so quickly that they will overwhelm free nations
  with their economic might.
With no natural enemies, alien species can overwhelm their adopted homes.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature