[oh-ver-hwel-ming, -wel-]

1565–75; overwhelm + -ing2

overwhelmingly, adverb
overwhelmingness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged


[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.
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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

overwhelming (ˌəʊvəˈwɛlmɪŋ)
overpowering in effect, number, or force

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

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
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Example sentences
Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous
  imbalances of political power.
Academics tend strongly toward whitewash in plagiarism, even when evidence for
  conviction is overwhelming.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of developing countries suffer a shortage
  of capital.
The amount of waters was beyond my imagination and the ability to almost touch
  the falls was overwhelming.
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