Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MILITARY

Date: 1300-1400
Origin: whelm 'to turn over, cover up' (13-19 centuries)

overwhelm

verb
     
o‧ver‧whelm [transitive usually passive]
1

emotion

if someone is overwhelmed by an emotion, they feel it so strongly that they cannot think clearly
be overwhelmed by something
Harriet was overwhelmed by a feeling of homesickness.
be overwhelmed with something
The children were overwhelmed with excitement.
Grief overwhelmed me.
2

too much

if work or a problem overwhelms someone, it is too much or too difficult to deal with
be overwhelmed by something
We were overwhelmed by the number of applications.
overwhelm somebody with something
They would be overwhelmed with paperwork.
3

surprise somebody

to surprise someone very much, so that they do not know how to react
be overwhelmed by something
I was completely overwhelmed by his generosity.
We were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place.
4

defeat somebody

PM to defeat an army completely:
In 1532 the Spaniards finally overwhelmed the armies of Peru.
5

water

literary if water overwhelms an area of land, it covers it completely and suddenly
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