Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To surge over and submerge; engulf.
  • transitive verb To defeat completely and decisively.
  • transitive verb To affect deeply in mind or emotion.
  • transitive verb To present with an excessive amount.
  • transitive verb To turn over; upset.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To overturn and cover; overcome; swallow up; submerge; overpower: crush: literally or figuratively.
  • To turn up; stir up; toss.
  • To overhang or overlook.
  • To turn over so as to cover; put over.
  • Synonyms Overpower, Overthrow, etc. (see defeat), overbear.
  • noun The act of overwhelming; an overpowering degree.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun rare The act of overwhelming.
  • transitive verb To cover over completely, as by a great wave; to overflow and bury beneath; to ingulf; hence, figuratively, to immerse and bear down; to overpower; to crush; to bury; to oppress, etc., overpoweringly.
  • transitive verb To project or impend over threateningly.
  • transitive verb To cause to surround, to cover.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To engulf, surge-over and submerge
  • verb To overpower, crush
  • verb To overpower emotionally

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb overcome, as with emotions or perceptual stimuli
  • verb overcome by superior force
  • verb cover completely or make imperceptible
  • verb charge someone with too many tasks

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From over- +‎ whelm, or rather Middle English whelmen.

Examples

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