Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

ebb

play
noun \ˈeb\

Simple Definition of ebb

  • : the time when the tide flows out from the land

  • : a low point or condition : a condition of weakness, failure, etc.

Full Definition of ebb

  1. 1 :  the reflux of the tide toward the sea

  2. 2 :  a point or condition of decline <our spirits were at a low ebb>

Examples of ebb

  1. Morale seems to have reached its lowest ebb.

  2. <a surprising ebb in the quality of workmanship in goods coming from that country>



Origin of ebb

Middle English ebbe, from Old English ebba; akin to Middle Dutch ebbe ebb, Old English of from — more at of


First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with ebb


2

ebb

verb

Simple Definition of ebb

  • of a tide : to flow outward from the land

  • : to get worse

Full Definition of ebb

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to recede from the flood

  3. 2 :  to fall from a higher to a lower level or from a better to a worse state <his popularity ebbed>

Examples of ebb

  1. waiting for the tide to ebb

  2. <the fortunes of the town slowly ebbed as factory after textile factory closed>



Before 12th Century

First Known Use of ebb

before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of ebb

abate, subside, wane, ebb mean to die down in force or intensity. abate stresses the idea of progressive diminishing <the storm abated>. subside implies the ceasing of turbulence or agitation <the protests subsided after a few days>. wane suggests the fading or weakening of something good or impressive <waning enthusiasm>. ebb suggests the receding of something (as the tide) that commonly comes and goes <the ebbing of daylight>.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ebb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift pince-nez duvet kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ