"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[hwelm, welm] /ʰwɛlm, wɛlm/
verb (used with object)
to submerge; engulf.
to overcome utterly; overwhelm:
whelmed by misfortune.
verb (used without object)
to roll or surge over something, as in becoming submerged.
Origin of whelm
1250-1300; Middle English whelme, apparently blend of dial. whelve (Old English gehwelfan to bend over) and helm2 (v.) (Old English helmian to cover) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for whelming
  • If you do not agree that the evidence is over whelming then let us go no further with this discussion.
  • For a short stretch, it seems as though the author has embarked upon an over-whelming film.
  • We police with the support of the over whelming majority of our public.
  • These breeds generally live quite long lives and thus geriatric issues can become time-consuming and financially over-whelming.
  • The city sent news releases out but publication in the local news was still under-whelming.
  • The strong scent of tobacco sweet to some noses, over whelming to others permeates the entire place.
British Dictionary definitions for whelming


verb (transitive) (archaic)
to engulf entirely with or as if with water
another word for overwhelm
Word Origin
C13: whelmen to turn over, of uncertain origin
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 whelming



c.1300, probably from a parallel form of Old English -hwielfan (West Saxon), -hwelfan (Mercian), in ahwelfan "cover over;" probably altered by association with Old English helmian "to cover" (see helmet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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