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

v flow or run over (a limit or brim)

brim over, overrun, run over, well over
to overflow like a geyser
Type of:
run out, spill
flow, run or fall out and become lost

v overflow with a certain feeling

bubble over, spill over
Type of:
boil, seethe
be in an agitated emotional state

n a large flow

flood, outpouring
flow under pressure
Type of:
flow, stream
the act of flowing or streaming; continuous progression

n the occurrence of surplus liquid (as water) exceeding the limit or capacity

overspill, runoff
Type of:
flow, flowing
the motion characteristic of fluids (liquids or gases)

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