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1. To surround something with snow, rendering it impassable, immovable, or inoperable. Often used in passive constructions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "snow" and "under." Traffic on the interstate was so bad that the snowstorm that blew through actually ended up snowing many of cars under, causing even more traffic problems as a result. I just got a call from the ski lodge. Apparently they were snowed under by the blizzard last night, and there's no way to get in or out of the place at the moment.
2. To cause someone or something to be unable to leave a building or area due to the snow. Often used in passive constructions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "snow" and "under." We were snowed under for several days, with only a small cupboard's worth of food to subsist on. The blizzard snowed us under, so we spent a lovely weekend inside reading.
3. By extension, to overwhelm or overwork someone, especially with work. Often used in passive constructions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "snow" and "under." I'm sorry I haven't returned your calls. I've just been so snowed under at work lately that I've barely had any time to myself. The boss keeps snowing me under with these huge overlapping projects.
Very busy or overwhelmed with something. This phrase evokes the image of being buried under an avalanche. I'd love to go out to dinner tonight, but I'm totally snowed under at the office right now. Kate's not coming tonight because she's snowed under with research for her thesis.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
overworked; exceptionally busy. Look, I'm really snowed under at the moment. Can this wait? He really has been snowed under with work.
Overwhelm, overpower, as in I can't go; I'm just snowed under with work, or We were snowed under by more votes than we could have anticipated. This expression alludes to being buried in snow. [Late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To cover or bury someone or something in snow: A big storm snowed the explorers under in their tents, and they couldn't leave for days. The blizzard snowed under the entire forest. The skiers were snowed under by the avalanche.
2. To overwhelm someone or something. Used chiefly in the passive: I was snowed under with homework.
3. To defeat someone or something by a very large margin. Used chiefly in the passive: The candidate was snowed under by a margin of 3 to 1.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.