Definition of sea change
- a sea change in public policy
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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
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having a quality expressive of sadness
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