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 sea change has helped them grow as a couple, Asplund said. NBC News, "An American dad in Sweden now has plenty of family time," 4 Apr. 2018 But there’s no doubt that 1826 marked a sea change in American politics. David S. Heidler And Jeanne T. Heidler, WSJ, "Midterms Have Been Punishing Incumbents Since 1826," 25 Oct. 2018 But the rise of 3D printing is happening in tandem with access to orbit becoming much more attainable, triggering a sea change in the launch industry that's only going to continue. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Lockheed Martin Is 3D-Printing Giant Titanium Space Parts," 12 July 2018 In this op-ed about Taylor Swift’s surprisingly political Instagram post, writer Lily Herman breaks down how her endorsement of Democratic candidates fits into a political sea change following Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Lily Herman, Teen Vogue, "Taylor Swift's Political Instagram Post Is a Sign of the Post–Brett Kavanaugh Times," 8 Oct. 2018 Burberry’s new fur-free policy is part of a sea change in the luxury industry. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Burberry’s Future is Fur-Free—And Much More Sustainable," 6 Sep. 2018 President Donald Trump's expression of support Friday for legislation that would protect legal marijuana activities in states that have approved the drug is being hailed as a possible sea change in American narcotics policy. Dennis Romero /, NBC News, "Trump says he'll probably back marijuana protections bill," 9 June 2018 Getty Images So much for a woman in charge leading to a sea change. Courtney Tenz, Marie Claire, "Angela Merkel Is Not Your Feminist Icon," 21 Sep. 2017 Expect a sea change in the Latin music business as women both on and offstage assume leadership roles and fight back against an industry that is legendary for sexism. Jessica Lipsky, Billboard, "Latin Women Take The Reins: Insights From the Latin Alternative Music Conference," 13 July 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

11 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on sea change

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sea change

Nglish: Translation of sea change for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sea change for Arabic Speakers

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