ebb

noun
\ˈeb \

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

The dollar fell against emerging-market currencies Thursday, as trade tensions appeared to ebb after reports earlier this week that the Trump administration was considering additional trade measures against China. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Dollar Slides Against Emerging-Market Currencies," 12 July 2018 Construction tends to ebb and flow based on a number of factors — labor, weather, permit approval — and one quarter doesn’t always establish a trend. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Apartments lead increase in San Diego homebuilding," 11 June 2018 Usually, authority begins to ebb from Chinese leaders as retirement nears. Chris Buckley And Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "China Moves to Let Xi Stay in Power by Abolishing Term Limit," 25 Feb. 2018 Her work is full of unexpected entrances and exits, giving the impression that the stage stretches on far beyond the wings, creating a constant ebb and flow of movement and dancing bodies. Nola Community Submission, NOLA.com, "'Jazz Ballets' is the latest from Marigny Opera Ballet," 23 Jan. 2018 But in recent days the White House has seen the pressure ebb, as Kavanaugh’s defenders — most recently Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general under President George W. Bush — have provided balance. BostonGlobe.com, "Announcement of Trump’s Supreme Court choice nears," 8 July 2018 But in recent days the White House has seen the pressure ebb, as Kavanaugh’s defenders — most recently Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general under President George W. Bush — have provided balance. Catherine Lucey, Washington Post, "Trump mulls Supreme Court choice from 2 or 3 candidates," 7 July 2018 But in recent days the White House has seen the pressure ebb, as Kavanaugh's defenders — most recently Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general under President George W. Bush — have provided balance. Catherine Lucey, Zeke Miller And Ken Thomas, Houston Chronicle, "Trump weighs 2 or 3 candidates for court, to meet with Pence," 6 July 2018 Geopolitical factors and the ebb and flow of tensions, even during the Cold War, meant there were some periods when US presidents did try to forge dialogue with the Kremlin. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump's toughness on Russia judged against his predecessors," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Warrens were charmed despite such oddities, but the owner’s enthusiasm for selling ebbed and flowed. Julie Lasky, New York Times, "Clinton Hill Mansion With a Rock ’n’ Roll History," 8 June 2018 Once the flow has ebbed, get undamaged valuables and heirlooms out of harm’s way. Joanne Cleaver, chicagotribune.com, "Reckoning with water damage, from flooded basements to faulty dishwashers," 20 Sep. 2017 Electricity use is ebbing as buildings and people conserve energy, a greater percentage of people become apartment dwellers and the industrial sector sheds jobs, the panel wrote. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "‘Alarm bell’ over City Light spending as Seattle council considers rate increases," 9 July 2018 With 11 percent of the landmass covered in ice, rapidly ebbing glaciers are threatening to reshape Iceland’s landscape, and Haraldsson, 74, is part of a contingent of volunteer glacier monitors who are at the frontlines of tracking the retreat. Gloria Dickie, WIRED, "Humans Tracked Iceland's Glaciers For Ages. Now, Tech Does," 5 June 2018 Life ebbed away in the faintest of gestures, ending in ethereal calm. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the CSO in an eloquent Mahler Ninth Symphony," 18 May 2018 Concern about the iPhone business was fanned by suppliers that recently reported weak demand for high-end handsets, another sign the smartphone boom that made Apple the most-valuable company is ebbing. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Apple rewards shareholders: It's buying back an extra $100 billion in stock and raising its dividend," 1 May 2018 Optimism over the synchronized growth story is ebbing. Sid Verma, Bloomberg.com, "Bond Bulls Rejoice: There's Growing Evidence of Peak Bear Market," 19 Apr. 2018 But the initial euphoria has ebbed as global risks mount. Sam Mkokeli, Bloomberg.com, "Zuma's Defiance Hampers Ramaphosa's Bid to Reform South Africa," 12 June 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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Learn More about ebb

Phrases Related to ebb

ebb and flow

Statistics for ebb

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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 \

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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