Monday, February 8, 2010

Overwhelmed: the Etymology

I'm feeling utterly overwhelmed right now. I feel washed over by a wave of chores and emotions and work and life. Which is funny because then I find out that this is what the origins of the word are:

overwhelm Look up overwhelm at
early 14c., "to turn upside down, to overthrow," from over + M.E. whelmen "to turn upside down" (see whelm). Meaning "to submerge completely" is mid-15c. Perhaps the connecting notion is a boat, etc., washed over, and overset, by a big wave. Figurative sense of "to bring to ruin" is attested from 1520s. Related:Overwhelming; overwhelmingly.

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