sea change

noun

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

1612


SEA CHANGE Defined for English Language Learners

sea change

noun

Definition of sea change for English Language Learners

  • : a big and sudden change



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to suppress quietly or indirectly

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