I'm looking for a verb that describe a coming wave. The wave may not be enormous as a tsunami, but it is strong enough to destroy or at least pushing away any obstacles on its way. The obstacles should be as heavy as a big human.

Obviously I'm not expecting the word come.

My sentence: the wave of globalization is coming. It will ______ everything in its way. We need to prepare for that.

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10 Answers 10


engulf - (of a natural force) sweep over (something) so as to surround or cover it completely.

  • Yes, engulf is probably the best. Other possibilities, consume, overwhelm. – chasly - supports Monica Oct 25 '15 at 17:53
  • In this context, the best options are engulf and swallow, in my opinion. – Martijn Oct 25 '15 at 23:28

Inundate has the twin meanings of to flood and to overwhelm, and I think is quite appropriate for this context.

See http://i.word.com/idictionary/inundate for a sample reference.



: take in and cause to disappear; engulf. OED

sweep away

: to dispose of someone or something by pushing or brushing away. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

The wave of globalization is coming. It will sweep away everything on its path. We need to prepare for that


It will devour everything in its way.

  • This may be a reasonable answer; could you expand on it a little? It's always a good idea to offer some supporting evidence with your answers. This could be a cited definition or other source, or perhaps a relevant, and reputable, published example. – JHCL Oct 26 '15 at 12:43
  • Devour—to consume. – Ethan Leyden Oct 27 '15 at 18:25
  • I believe that this is a good word because it illustrates the devastation that may be caused by the wrath of the wave. – Ethan Leyden Oct 27 '15 at 18:26

I like engulf as well, if the nuance you are looking for is the ubiquity, or you could go with "inundate" or even overwhelm. "Deluge" is another option if you're thinking more on the destructive side of things. The challenge is that deluge is more commonly used in the passive voice, which isn't necessarily ideal in writing.

The wave of globalization is coming. It will inundate everything in its way. We need to prepare for that.

The wave of globalization is coming, and everything will be deluged in its way. We need to prepare for that.


You've described a "storm surge" and your picture shows a "tidal wave"

In this context, devastate fits both the destruction caused by a surge and the effects of globalization on fragile economies.

It will devastate everything in the way.

devastate - (verb) - to destroy much or most of (something) : to cause great damage or harm to (something)

storm surge - A storm surge is a rise in sea level that occurs during tropical cyclones, intense storms also known as typhoons or hurricanes. The storms produce strong winds that push the water into shore, which can lead to flooding. This makes storm surges very dangerous for coastal regions.


Crash would nicely echo the more usual, intransitive use of crash with wave.

Sweep away or sweep off in case crash sounds too violent for the destruction you're trying to express.

Wipe out would be the next gentler degree of destruction. (Think surfer talk - getting wiped out by a wave sets you back, but it doesn't annihilate you; you can still get back up.)


The sentence may as well be restructured as given below (if you think it's a good fit):

It will raze everything in its wake.


How about 'submerge' ?

'Submerge' would be in keeping with the metaphor (wave).

submerge: to cause (someone or something) to be completely under water or the surface of a liquid.


Theres this one Ascendo tuum ,it originates from latin, literally means to ascend and fall

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