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How to pronounce overwhelm (audio)


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Dictionary definition of overwhelm

To overpower or affect someone or something in a way that is difficult to manage or control.
"The intense heat and humidity can easily overwhelm the body."

Detailed meaning of overwhelm

When a person or situation is overwhelmed, they are flooded or consumed by an intense or excessive amount of something, whether it be emotions, tasks, responsibilities, or events. This can result in a feeling of helplessness or being unable to cope with the situation at hand. For example, a person may be overwhelmed by stress, grief, or anxiety, or a business may be overwhelmed with orders or demands. In any case, being overwhelmed can be a challenging and distressing experience that requires support and assistance to overcome.

Example sentences containing overwhelm

1. The immense workload can overwhelm even the most dedicated employee.
2. Don't let your fears overwhelm your aspirations.
3. The amount of information to process can overwhelm students.
4. The sudden news of the accident started to overwhelm her.
5. It is easy to let negative thoughts overwhelm your mind.
6. The sheer number of tasks can overwhelm a person.

History and etymology of overwhelm

The verb 'overwhelm' has its etymological origins in Old English. It is a combination of two Old English words, 'ofor' meaning 'over' and 'hwealfan' meaning 'to turn over' or 'to capsize.' Originally, 'overwhelm' carried a literal sense of being overturned or submerged, often used in the context of boats or objects being swamped by water. Over time, the term evolved to describe the figurative act of overpowering or affecting someone or something in a way that is difficult to manage or control, much like a boat being swamped by waves. When someone is 'overwhelmed,' it signifies a feeling of being inundated or overburdened by emotions, responsibilities, or challenges. Therefore, the etymology of 'overwhelm' reflects its historical connection to the idea of being physically turned over or submerged, highlighting its role in describing the experience of being mentally or emotionally swamped, as conveyed by its linguistic heritage.

Quiz: Find the meaning of overwhelm

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Further usage examples of overwhelm

1. The intensity of the storm began to overwhelm the city.
2. The emotions of grief can overwhelm a person after a loss.
3. The support and encouragement from friends can overwhelm you with gratitude.
4. The chaos of the situation threatened to overwhelm him.
5. The responsibilities of being a parent can overwhelm new moms and dads.
6. The sheer size of the project can overwhelm even the most experienced team.
7. The sheer volume of paperwork can overwhelm an office.
8. The excitement of the event can overwhelm participants with joy.
9. The weight of the world's problems can overwhelm anyone.
10. The noise in the busy city can overwhelm sensitive individuals.
11. The news of her success overwhelmed her with joy.
12. The sheer volume of work can overwhelm even the most diligent.
13. The beauty of the landscape overwhelmed us with awe.
14. The sudden loss of a loved one can overwhelm with grief.
15. Stress can overwhelm one's ability to cope.
16. The magnitude of the disaster overwhelmed relief efforts.
17. Her kindness and generosity overwhelmed those in need.
18. Emotions can overwhelm when confronting difficult decisions.
19. A tidal wave can overwhelm coastal defenses.
20. The aroma of the meal overwhelmed our senses.
21. The complexity of the problem can overwhelm even experts.
22. The task's enormity can overwhelm the unprepared.
23. Gratitude can overwhelm when receiving unexpected kindness.
24. The crowd's cheers overwhelmed the stadium.



overpower, underwhelm, soothe, reassure


Prefix over-, High School 10, Middle School 6, Excitement and Enthusiasm

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