Definition of sea change
1 archaic : a change brought about by the sea
2 : a marked change : transformation a sea change in public policy
sea change was our Word of the Day on 10/25/2010. Hear the podcast!
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.
First Known Use of sea change
SEA CHANGE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sea change for English Language Learners
: a big and sudden change
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up sea change? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).