Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
  • transitive v. To defeat completely and decisively: Our team overwhelmed the visitors by 40 points.
  • transitive v. To affect deeply in mind or emotion: Despair overwhelmed me.
  • transitive v. To present with an excessive amount: They overwhelmed us with expensive gifts.
  • transitive v. To turn over; upset: The small craft was overwhelmed by the enormous waves.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. 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 v. To project or impend over threateningly.
  • transitive v. To cause to surround, to cover.
  • n. The act of overwhelming.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. The act of overwhelming; an overpowering degree.

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

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

Etymologies

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

Examples

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