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

As the water in her barrel ebbs dangerously low, and her menfolk fail to return to replenish it, Nora’s denial slowly disintegrates, and her story radically changes shape. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Téa Obreht Considers the Camel," 28 Aug. 2019 Coming together and coming apart is the ebb and flow of good relationships. Pamela Pavliscak, Quartz, "Forget AI ethics—treat technology like a new relationship instead," 2 Aug. 2019 Water is dynamic, and objects are susceptible to its ebb and flow. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How underwater archaeology reveals hidden wonders," 2 Aug. 2019 That desperation culminates with a scene in which Sequin reaches out to his father at the behest of Virginia (Anthony Brandon Wong), the kindly drag queen who takes him in at his lowest ebb. Harry Windsor, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sequin in a Blue Room': Film Review | Outfest 2019," 22 July 2019 Fenway Park loomed large, both in a physical sense and in its seasonal ebb and flow of visitors. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "It was a parking lot. Now it’s a park, and the ‘center of gravity’ in reimagined Fenway neighborhood," 14 July 2019 In some industries, like tax accounting and wedding planning, there are seasonal ebbs and flows. Nicole Spector, NBC News, "Yes, you can take a vacation when you're self-employed. Here's how to do it.," 12 June 2019 For all the talk in Britain of taking back control and returning to the glories of bygone eras, the low ebb of the pound is a sign: Things change. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "How Brexit ravaged the once-mighty British pound," 15 Aug. 2019 But beyond the dip in airline capacity, rising prices in the country are also to blame for the ebb of Iceland's tourism. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Iceland's Tourism Numbers Are Dropping—And Wow Air Is to Blame," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Meanwhile, in mature democracies, support for free speech is ebbing, especially among the young, and outright hostility to it is growing. The Economist, "The global gag on free speech is tightening," 15 Aug. 2019 For decades, as economic forces have ebbed and flowed, people have emigrated freely between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, separated by only seven nautical miles. Safiya Charles, The New Republic, "Trump’s Venezuela Policy Is Causing Turmoil in the Caribbean," 9 Aug. 2019 That may have ebbed in today’s nose-in-your-device world, but events like festivals, going out for the evening and in particular shopping remain enduring communal activities. Ted Anthony, The Denver Post, "“You can’t just not go”: Life in public-shooting-era America," 5 Aug. 2019 That may have ebbed in today’s nose-in-your-device world, but events like festivals, going out for the evening and in particular shopping remain enduring communal activities. Washington Post, "Life in public-shooting-era America: ‘You can’t just not go’," 4 Aug. 2019 That may have ebbed in today's nose-in-your-device world, but events like festivals, going out for the evening and in particular shopping remain enduring communal activities. Ted Anthony, Anchorage Daily News, "Life in public-shooting-era America: ‘You can’t just not go’," 4 Aug. 2019 By that standard, The Chronicle found that the number of mass shootings has ebbed and flowed in California since the late 1990s, neither increasing nor decreasing dramatically. Joaquin Palomino, SFChronicle.com, "Mass shootings in California: Rare but increasingly deadly," 31 July 2019 Chris Bassitt, who has ebbed and flowed all season, delivered a quality start following a clunker in Seattle. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "A’s clobber White Sox with 7-run first inning," 13 July 2019 His calls were filled with energy, passion and punchy phrases, often featuring alliteration, and his demeanor and tone would ebb and flow along with the Blazers’ ups and downs. Joe Freeman, oregonlive.com, "Brian Wheeler will not return to Portland Trail Blazers’ radio," 12 July 2019

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

2 Sep 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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