tidal wave


Definition of tidal wave 

1a : an unusually high sea wave that is triggered especially by an earthquake

b : an unusual rise of water alongshore due to strong winds

2 : something overwhelming especially in quantity or volume a tidal wave of tourists

Examples of tidal wave in a Sentence

a tidal wave of emotion

Recent Examples on the Web

With death tolls in the mid-800s and still rising, the true devastation of the tidal wave will not be known for weeks, and possibly months. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Indonesia's Tsunami Warning System Hasn't Been Operational Since 2012," 1 Oct. 2018 Arriving in the middle of Kanye's G.O.O.D. rollout, the couple's joint album is infatuated with power Everything Is Love, Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s surprise collaborative album, hit the internet on Saturday evening like a tidal wave. Max Cea, Billboard, "With 'Everything Is Love,' Beyoncé and JAY-Z Flex on Kanye West and the World," 17 June 2018 Given the way female representation looks across the country, even the tidal wave of women running probably will not be enough to get one woman into office for every man. Darla Cameron, Washington Post, "in political office in," 7 Feb. 2018 In the midst of the tidal wave of Kardashian pregnancies that came earlier this year, Khloé kept hers a secret for as long as possible in order to make sure that her younger sister, Kylie Jenner, could have her special moment as a new mom. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Khloé Kardashian Kept Her Pregnancy a Secret for So Long as a Favor to Kylie," 29 Aug. 2018 In 2016, a few months before a political tidal wave hit America, Minot took a radical step of its own. The Economist, "How a small town in North Dakota got its groove back," 7 June 2018 Michael Cohen's off-camera sit-down with ABC's George Stephanopoulos unleashed a tidal wave of speculation about whether the President's long time personal lawyer is now turning against him. Fox News, "Media's Supreme Court scrutiny," 9 July 2018 In this moment, though, there is no good use for the undercurrent of despair beneath the tidal wave of anger that accompanied the rejections. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Sixers weren't ready for LeBron James or Paul George | Marcus Hayes," 4 July 2018 The comedy of errors that was the initial Porcellian response to Harvard's pressure might also signal the clubs' inability to maintain their traditions against the tidal wave of social change. William Stadiem, Town & Country, "Can Harvard's Storied Final Clubs Resist the Tides of Change?," 2 Aug. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tidal wave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of tidal wave

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tidal wave

Share tidal wave

Statistics for tidal wave

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tidal wave

The first known use of tidal wave was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tidal wave

tidal wave


English Language Learners Definition of tidal wave

: a very high, large wave in the ocean that is often caused by strong winds or an earthquake

: a very large amount of something

tidal wave


Kids Definition of tidal wave

1 : a very high sea wave that sometimes follows an earthquake

2 : an unusual rise of water along a shore due to strong winds

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tidal wave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tidal wave

Spanish Central: Translation of tidal wave

Nglish: Translation of tidal wave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tidal wave

Comments on tidal wave

What made you want to look up tidal wave? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!