Simple Definition of sea change
: a big and sudden change
Full Definition of sea change
1 archaic : a change brought about by the sea
2 : a marked change : transformation <a sea change in public policy>
Did You Know?
In Shakespeare's The Tempest, a sea-change is a change brought about by sea: Full fathom five thy father lies ... / Nothing of him that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change. This meaning is the original one, but it's now archaic. Long after sea change had gained its figurative meaning, however, writers continued to allude to Shakespeare's literal one; Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, and P.G. Wodehouse all used the term as an object of the verb suffer.
First Known Use of sea change
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up sea change? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).