To overflow is to go beyond filling something with a liquid, so that it gushes over the edges. During heavy rainstorms, rivers sometimes overflow their banks and flood the surrounding land.

Bathwater will overflow the tub if you don't turn the water off, and if you keep pouring coffee after your cup is full, it will also overflow. Literal overflowing involves liquid, but you can also use this verb to mean "fill a container" or "fill with feeling." So your arms can overflow with flowers, and your heart can overflow with happiness. The Old English root is oferfleow, "flood" or "inundate."

Definitions of overflow
  1. verb
    flow or run over (a limit or brim)
    synonyms: brim over, overrun, run over, well over
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    to overflow like a geyser
    type of:
    run out, spill
    flow, run or fall out and become lost
  2. verb
    overflow with a certain feeling
    synonyms: bubble over, spill over
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    type of:
    boil, seethe
    be in an agitated emotional state
  3. noun
    a large flow
    synonyms: flood, outpouring
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    flow under pressure
    type of:
    flow, stream
    the act of flowing or streaming; continuous progression
  4. noun
    the occurrence of surplus liquid (as water) exceeding the limit or capacity
    synonyms: overspill, runoff
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    type of:
    flow, flowing
    the motion characteristic of fluids (liquids or gases)
Word Family

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