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

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 After a brief hiatus and moment of self-reflection, the R&B vet returned with his 11th studio album, Good Man, earlier this month, which chronicles the ebb and flow of relationships. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "How Ne-Yo's Wife & His Journey of Self-Reflection Helped Him Create 'Good Man' Album," 20 June 2018 There will be ebbs and flows for the surface of Earth, but the direction we're headed is clear. Tom Randall, Bloomberg.com, "Earth’s Relentless Warming Sets a Brutal New Record in 2017," 18 Jan. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While those initial new-kid nerves can ebb with experience, many still struggle with gym anxiety long after the newbie phase. Gray Chapman, SELF, "Here's How I Conquered Weight Room Anxiety," 8 Sep. 2018 Proponents call it the Second Feminist Wave, the first having ebbed after the glorious victory of suffrage and disappeared, finally, into the sandbar of Togetherness. Constance Grady, Vox, "The waves of feminism, and why people keep fighting over them, explained," 1 June 2018 Though the teacher strikes ebbed with the school year, deals brokered to end walkouts mostly offered temporary fixes, and no long-term solution is in sight. Emmarie Huetteman, USA TODAY, "Unwieldy health costs often stand between teachers and higher pay," 13 June 2018 The fortunes of the 2018 Mets will ebb and flow thanks to a number of players, but perhaps none more important than Syndergaard; without him, there’s no chance of New York challenging for a playoff spot. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Winners and Losers From a Hectic 2018 Opening Day," 29 Mar. 2018 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

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

11 Nov 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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