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

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 The words of the song seemed to perfectly reflect upon and capture the ebb and flow of emotion, grief, and loss that come to play while processing a tragedy: The river is flowing, flowing, and flowing. Jessica Delfino, SELF, "How 9 Women Commemorated Their Miscarriages," 19 Oct. 2018 In traditional economic models, productivity is determined by technological advances and business innovations that aren’t tied to the ebb and flow of recessions and recoveries. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "Robots or Job Training: Manufacturers Grapple With How to Improve Their Economic Fortunes," 25 June 2018 But where constructing a story like this on television allows for ample space to play out the ebb and flow of those emotions, doing so on film is really, really tough. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Life Itself is a disaster of a movie, caught in a web of its own privilege," 21 Sep. 2018 These sequences, with lengthy focuses on emotional human faces, do ebb and flow into and out of the uncanny valley. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man PS4 review: Does whatever a spider can—and then some," 4 Sep. 2018 Over the decades, the company would be sold back and forth by the likes of Data East to Sega, mirroring the ebb and flow of a chaotic industry. Peter Rugg, Popular Mechanics, "Inside America's Last Great Pinball Factory," 27 Mar. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Just as currency is always in motion, your bank account will also ebb and flow. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What September's Leo Horoscope Means for You," 30 Aug. 2018 Around 7,000 children were housed on the bases for about three months until the number of migrants ebbed. New York Times, "U.S. Prepares Housing Up to 20,000 Migrants on Military Bases," 21 June 2018 The markets room was started in the 1990s, though its importance ebbed until Paulson revived it during the global financial crisis. Bloomberg.com, "Mnuchin Spares Treasury Market Nerve Center Amid Trading Tumult," 27 Feb. 2018 By the time that the wave of massacres — carried out mostly with machetes, axes, spears, and bows and arrows — ebbed in mid-March, roughly 120 communities, including Tche, had been attacked. Nick Turse, Teen Vogue, "The Democratic Republic of Congo Has Humanitarian Crises Leaving Millions of Children In Danger," 14 Nov. 2018 Zeal for the monarchy has ebbed and flowed reaching an all-time low in 1975 when the Governor-General, the Queen’s representative in Australia, actually dismissed the government. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Tour of Australia Is Crucial to the Future of the Monarchy," 1 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

4 Feb 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 \

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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