Meaning of whelm in English:


Pronunciation /wɛlm/


[with object] archaic
  • 1Engulf, submerge, or bury.

    ‘a swimmer whelmed in a raging storm’
    • ‘All the faults of the Italian people are whelmed in forgiveness as soon as their music sounds under the Italian sky.’
    • ‘The envious billows sidelong well to whelm my track; let them; but first I pass.’
    befall, happen to, come upon, hit, strike, fall on, overwhelm, overpower, overcome, be visited on, engulf, sweep over, take by surprise, surprise, catch unawares, catch unprepared, catch off guard
    1. 1.1no object Well up or flow.
      ‘the brook whelmed up from its source’
      • ‘The warmth whelms from the nearness of arms, backs, necks, breasts; not from fire.’
      • ‘Then, a golden light whelmed up from the earth and engulfed me.’


  • An act or instance of flowing or heaping up abundantly; a surge.

    ‘the whelm of the tide’
    • ‘We'll retreat, but if I see your starship again, I'll blast you right out of the stars and into the fiery whelms of Hell!’


Middle English representing an Old English form parallel to hwelfan ‘overturn (a vessel’).