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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Whelm \Whelm\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Whelmed; p. pr. & vb. n. Whelming.] [OE. whelmen to turn over, akin to OE. whelven, AS. whelfan, hwylfan, in ?whylfan, ?whelfan, to overwhelm, cover over; akin to OS. bihwelbian, D. welven to arch, G. w["o]lben, OHG. welben, Icel. hvelfa to overturn; cf. Gr. ? bosom, a hollow, a gulf.] [1913 Webster] 1. To cover with water or other fluid; to cover by immersion in something that envelops on all sides; to overwhelm; to ingulf. [1913 Webster] She is my prize, or ocean whelm them all! --Shak. [1913 Webster] The whelming billow and the faithless oar. --Gay. [1913 Webster] 2. Fig.: To cover completely, as if with water; to immerse; to overcome; as, to whelm one in sorrows. "The whelming weight of crime." --J. H. Newman. [1913 Webster] 3. To throw (something) over a thing so as to cover it. [Obs.] --Mortimer. [1913 Webster]