ebb

noun
\ 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

ebb

verb
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

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Choose the Right Synonym for ebb

Verb

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Our sexualities have an ebb and flow, like every other part of our lives. Corinne Werder, Allure, "Want to Have Better Sex? Stop Worrying About Orgasms," 11 Oct. 2018 As with the rocky evolution of society's cultural and political climate, makeup trends also ebb and flow. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Beyoncé's Makeup Artist Says These Will Be the Coolest Makeup Trends of 2019," 23 Jan. 2019 The ebb and flow of these symptoms also makes MS challenging to diagnose. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Selma Blair 'Thought Was a Pinched Nerve' Turned Out to Be MS," 22 Oct. 2018 Tuesday’s ebb in the Ghazni fighting caps an unusually costly few days for the country’s security forces. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Afghan City Gauges Toll After Taliban Siege," 14 Aug. 2018 The restless lyrical ebb and flow climbed to magnificent peaks of intensity, falling back to take deep breaths before gathering renewed strength. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Esa-Pekka Salonen wraps up CSO residency with an intense 'Transfigured Night'," 25 May 2018 When management would move the pictures around (or, worse, banish one entirely) in accordance with the ebb and flow of their subjects’ successes, the reshuffling prompted all sorts of glee and schadenfreude among other customers. Town & Country, "Wall of Shame: What Happens to Controversial Portrait Walls in the #MeToo Era?," 30 Nov. 2018 HBO Literary and artistic movements often arise spontaneously, out of specific moments — as a response to great cultural change, to geopolitical shifts, and/or to specific ebbs and flows within subcultures. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 For the best part of two decades shares and bond yields (which move inversely to prices) have tended to rise and fall together, as the prospects for economic growth ebb and flow. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Finding Stocks to Buy in an Era of Rising Prices," 6 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The size of the group’s weekly protests, which reached a peak in November, has since ebbed somewhat. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "Emmanuel Macron Courts World Business Elite at Hallmark of France’s Splendor," 21 Jan. 2019 All of the male characters are back in season two but their power is ebbing, slowly in some cases, drastically in others. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "With Season 2, HBO's The Deuce is a Show in Transition—and That's a Good Thing," 19 Sep. 2018 Across the cavernous rocket factory, the buzz, whirr, and whine of various machinery never ebbed. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX reveals the controls of its Dragon spacecraft for the first time," 14 Aug. 2018 Recent concerns about Apple's iPhone business were fanned by suppliers that reported weak demand for high-end handsets, another sign the smartphone boom that made Apple the most-valuable company is ebbing. Mark Gurman, chicagotribune.com, "Apple results to show iPhone X problem and plan to fix it," 1 May 2018 But somewhere along the way, her confidence ebbed; a vocal teacher suggested Kristin check out the Entourage program. Jane Wooldridge, miamiherald, "These 18 made the cut. That’s when the real work began. Now they’re part of the Entourage. | Miami Herald," 22 Apr. 2018 That split second where the game that looks to be ebbing towards a natural, premeditated end gets flipped on it's head, with the remainder of the match plunged into ambiguity is unprecedented in terms of entertainment. SI.com, "6 Teams That Had Victory Snatched From Them at the Death," 18 June 2018 The danger for indifferent Iraqis is to continue to vote along identity lines, even as the sectarianism that enveloped the country for so many years now appears to be ebbing. Jamie Tarabay, CNN, "A hero for defeating ISIS, Iraq's PM still has to woo voters," 10 May 2018 There have been surges in women joining Congress Over time, the number of women in Congress has ebbed and flowed, with spikes in the 1950s, the 1970s, and a major surge in the early 1990s. Li Zhou, Vox, "The first year every state sent a woman to Congress, in one map," 7 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of ebb

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for ebb

Noun

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

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Statistics for ebb

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ebb

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

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More Definitions for ebb

ebb

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ebb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the time when the tide flows out from the land
: a low point or condition : a condition of weakness, failure, etc.

ebb

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ebb (Entry 2 of 2)

of a tide : to flow outward from the land
: to get worse

ebb

noun
\ 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

ebb

verb
ebbed; ebbing

Kids Definition of ebb (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ebb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ebb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ebb

Spanish Central: Translation of ebb

Nglish: Translation of ebb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ebb for Arabic Speakers

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