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 But for all those improvements to happen, there is going to have to be a sea change in attitudes, arms experts say. Peter Schwartzstein, Scientific American, "Climate Change May Be Blowing Up Arms Depots," 14 Nov. 2019 Washington’s wave of female museum leaders marks a sea change for a field that has traditionally been led by white men. Washington Post, "Women are increasingly getting the top museum jobs. Will more of them finally get equal pay?," 2 July 2019 Here are 10 takeaways from the 2018 term that ended Thursday: Conservatives stalled (Photo: Alex Gallardo, AP) The retirement last June of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy signaled a sea change for the court. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court in transition: Conservatives ascendant but Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh prove unpredictable," 19 June 2019 Hardware has been relegated to second fiddle, which marks a sea change for a tech giant in transition and watershed moment for Apple events, which had generally made phones and laptops and watches the stars of the show. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "For Apple's Big Event on Monday, Hardware Is Just a Sideshow," 21 Mar. 2019 During his five-plus years as the baseball club’s GM, A.J. Preller, The International Sensation, has attempted a sea change in organizational thinking, canvassing the Caribbean especially to find hot, young talent. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: A.J. Preller’s cruise could be over if right Padres skipper isn’t hired," 5 Oct. 2019 For a field that has been anchored to anatomy in the diagnosis of disease, a biomarker-first approach represents a sea change. Scientific American, "The Coming Age of Molecular Medicine," 2 Oct. 2019 That all of this energy and attention has amounted to a temporary swell instead of a sea change. Melinda Gates, Time, "Melinda Gates: Here's Why I'm Committing $1 Billion to Promote Gender Equality," 2 Oct. 2019 Most of the Democratic primary field supports legalization of marijuana, reflecting a sea change in public opinion on the issue., "O’Rourke calls for taxing marijuana industry to support those harmed by war on drugs," 20 Sep. 2019

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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The first known use of sea change was in 1612

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sea change.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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