AskDefine | Define overwhelm

Dictionary Definition



1 overcome, as with emotions or perceptual stimuli [syn: overpower, sweep over, whelm, overcome, overtake]
2 charge someone with too many tasks [syn: deluge, flood out]
3 cover completely or make imperceptible; "I was drowned in work"; "The noise drowned out her speech" [syn: submerge, drown]
4 overcome by superior force [syn: overpower, overmaster]

User Contributed Dictionary



From over + whelmen (whelm)


  • italbrac RP /ˌəʊvəˈwɛlm/
  • italbrac US /ˌoʊvɚˈwɛlm/
  • Rhymes with: -ɛlm


  1. To engulf, surge-over and submerge
    The dinghy was overwhelmed by the great wave.
  2. To overpower emotionally
    He was overwhelmed with guilt.
    Joy overwhelmed her when she realized that she had won a million dollars.

Derived terms

Related terms


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

afflict, aggrieve, amaze, anguish, answer, answer conclusively, argue down, astonish, astound, awe, awestrike, baptize, be prodigal with, be strong, beat, beat down, bedaze, bedazzle, bend, bewilder, blank, board, boggle, bowl down, bowl over, break, break down, bring down, bring low, bring to tears, bring to terms, bulldoze, bury, cascade, cataract, clobber, confound, confuse, confute, conquer, contradict, controvert, cream, crush, cut up, daze, dazzle, defeat, defeat utterly, deluge, demolish, demoralize, deny, desolate, destroy, devastate, dip, discombobulate, dismiss, dispose of, disturb, douse, downgrade, draw tears, drown, drown out, drub, duck, dumbfound, dumbfounder, dunk, embitter, engulf, escalade, finish, flabbergast, flood, flood the market, floor, foray, grieve, humble, humiliate, immerge, immerse, inroad, inundate, invade, jam, knock over, lick, lower, make a raid, make an inroad, master, merge, nonplus, oppress, outroar, outshout, overbear, overbrim, overcome, overdose, overequip, overflow, overfurnish, overlavish, overmaster, overpower, overprovender, overprovide, overprovision, overrun, oversell, overstock, oversupply, overtax, overthrow, overturn, pack a punch, paralyze, parry, paste, perplex, petrify, plunge in water, pour out, pour over, prostrate, put to silence, quash, quell, raid, rebut, reduce, reduce to silence, refute, ruin, run over, scale, scale the walls, schmear, settle, shatter, shellac, shock, shout down, shut out, shut up, silence, sink, skunk, slop, slosh, smash all opposition, smear, smother, snow under, sorrow, souse, spill, spill out, spill over, squash, squelch, stagger, startle, steamroller, storm, strike dead, strike dumb, strike with wonder, stun, stupefy, subdue, submerge, submerse, subordinate, subvert, suppress, surprise, swamp, sweep, take aback, take by storm, thrash, torment, trample underfoot, tread underfoot, trim, tyrannize, undermine, unman, upset, weigh down, whelm, whitewash, whomp, whop, wreck
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