sea change


Definition of sea change 

1 archaic : a change brought about by the sea

2 : a marked change : transformation a sea change in public policy

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Did You Know?

In Shakespeare's The Tempest, a sea-change is a change brought about by sea: Full fathom five thy father lies ... / Nothing of him that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change. This meaning is the original one, but it's now archaic. Long after sea change had gained its figurative meaning, however, writers continued to allude to Shakespeare's literal one; Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, and P.G. Wodehouse all used the term as an object of the verb suffer.

Examples of sea change in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The acquisitions of Rondo, Stephenson and McGee suggest a sea change for L.A., and for James. Lee Jenkins,, "Fit For The King: LeBron James and the Lakers Form Hollywood's Ultimate Marriage," 11 July 2018 Whittle and his main partner, Phillip Mott, had tapped a sea change in the culture. Sam Tanenhaus, Town & Country, "Can Chris Whittle Launch a Truly Global School?," 10 July 2018 Yet his win, along with the forceful rejection of the country’s traditional parties, could signal a sea change in how Mexicans are approaching politics. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, "With election of new president, often-cynical Mexicans opting for hope," 5 July 2018 The nice thing is that, after a year, several folks who were afraid to support me are (doing so) now, and that obviously signifies a real sea change. Stephanie Petit,, "Kathy Griffin Slams Kevin Hart for Not Going After Trump in His Comedy: 'That's a P— Move'," 14 June 2018 Volcker’s focus on inflation was a sea change for the central bank. Tom Hudson, miamiherald, "Bending the Volcker Rule," 25 May 2018 Beyond your own interest in Podcasts, its very existence amounts to a sea change in the podcasting world. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Google's New Podcast App Could Turbocharge the Industry," 19 June 2018 Image The last seven weeks amount to a sea change in United States economic policy. New York Times, "The Era of Fiscal Austerity Is Over. Here’s What Big Deficits Mean for the Economy.," 9 Feb. 2018 Judging from the aggressive passion behind stuffed lobster, the limeade crush of rockfish ceviche and the coiled luster of shrimp in cilantro cream, Rebelle was ready for the sea change. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Reborn Rebelle now San Antonio’s finest seafood restaurant," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sea change.' 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 sea change

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sea change

Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for sea change

The first known use of sea change was in 1612

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More Definitions for sea change

sea change


English Language Learners Definition of sea change

: a big and sudden change

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the setting in which something occurs

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