Definition of sea change
- a sea change in public policy
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
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.
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.
: a big and sudden change
What made you want to look up sea change? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism