\ ˈeb How to pronounce ebb (audio) \

Definition of ebb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the reflux of the tide toward the sea
2 : a point or condition of decline our spirits were at a low ebb


ebbed; ebbing; ebbs

Definition of ebb (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to recede from the flood
2 : to fall from a higher to a lower level or from a better to a worse state his popularity ebbed

Choose the Right Synonym for 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 (such as the tide) that commonly comes and goes. the ebbing of daylight

Examples of ebb in a Sentence

Noun Morale seems to have reached its lowest ebb. a surprising ebb in the quality of workmanship in goods coming from that country Verb waiting for the tide to ebb the fortunes of the town slowly ebbed as factory after textile factory closed
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Liliya Sekreta, head nurse at the West Berkeley OptumServe site, has seen demand for testing and treatment ebb and flow. Rachel Scheier, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 June 2022 This one will start the same way, but for an historic ebb of opportunity. Bill Monroe, oregonlive, 11 June 2022 The opening episodes of any Alone season have a familiar ebb and flow, and thus far season nine is no different. Frederick Dreier, Outside Online, 3 June 2022 The ebb and flow in calls to the hotline in 2020 were just one concern of the children's advocates. The Enquirer, 26 Apr. 2021 There are also idiosyncratic ones, including the rapid return of inflation after decades at a low ebb, a wobbling Chinese economy and a war in Ukraine that has shocked commodity markets. Justin Baer, WSJ, 21 May 2022 Relations between the two nations were at a particularly low ebb in the decades-long Cold War, which had emerged out of the ashes of World War II. Francine Uenuma, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Apr. 2022 Just save it for when your anger is at a low ebb and frame it as reconciling differences in style. Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2022 Stock markets are at their lowest ebb since the dark days of the pandemic. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 11 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When Delta began to ebb, the desire to come back into the salon revved right back up. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Employee productivity and performance levels ebb and flow. Rob Catalano, Forbes, 2 May 2022 With the cost of consumer goods up 8.3% year over year, the report painted a picture of the highest inflation rate since 1981 and shattered hopes that the rising tide of inflation would ebb any time soon. Christopher Hurn, Forbes, 1 June 2022 And even if inflation continues to ebb, prices are still rising far more quickly than the Fed’s target of 2 percent over time. New York Times, 27 May 2022 Public confidence in the various organs of American governance continues to ebb. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 19 May 2022 That sort of equilibrium will take work to achieve and to maintain, as antibody levels ebb over time and new variants crop up. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 4 May 2022 The grounds of the museum will include a tidal pool where water will ebb and flow; on its bottom will be etched a ghostly cross section of a slave ship with prone figures of men, women, and children crowded as tightly as possible. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, 18 Mar. 2022 Health concerns last year shifted more people than ever to online, and many will continue to favor that option as the pandemic continues to ebb and flow. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, 26 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ebb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ebb


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ebb


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

Learn More About ebb

Time Traveler for ebb

Time Traveler

The first known use of ebb was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near ebb



ebb and flow

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ebb

Last Updated

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ebb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ebb. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ebb


\ ˈeb How to pronounce ebb (audio) \

Kids Definition of ebb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the flowing out of the tide
2 : a point reached after things have gotten worse In the ebb of their fortunes, this sum was their total capital …— Jack London, The Call of the Wild


ebbed; ebbing

Kids Definition of ebb (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to flow out or away
2 : to get worse His fortunes ebbed.

More from Merriam-Webster on ebb

Nglish: Translation of ebb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ebb for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!