Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

overwhelm - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] overwhelm pronunciation in British English /ˌəʊvə(r)ˈwelm/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleoverwhelming
past tenseoverwhelmed
past participleoverwhelmed
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 2
    [usually passive] to exist in such great amounts that someone or something cannot deal with them

    She was overwhelmed by expenses.

    In June the town is overwhelmed by tourists.

Open Dictionary


the practice of giving birth in the presence of several friends and relatives

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play