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

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 The result was a tidal wave of bipartisan criticism that the White House was unable to stop before senators had responded by writing the defense bill language reimposing the Commerce Department penalties. Erica Werner And Josh Dawsey, chicagotribune.com, "Senate, House GOP at odds over rare rebuke of Trump on national security," 5 July 2018 That’s one of those hoary questions that can be relied on to open the floodgates for a tidal wave of mishaps, misunderstandings and collisions. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Basketball Meets Tiananmen Square in ‘The Great Leap’," 4 June 2018 Then the sea turned around, and started coming in and, unlike a tidal wave, was more like a rising tide that just wouldn’t quit. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Adventures in the shadow of nature’s greatest powers," 29 Apr. 2018 Leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador rode a tidal wave of voter anger to victory. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "We go inside Amazon’s warehouse world, plus Kam Chancellor retires from the NFL | Monday Morning Brief, July 2," 2 July 2018 There’s even a secluded beach, a heated pool and the Torrent tidal wave river. Joy Sewing, San Antonio Express-News, "Weekend getaway: Your guide to all things Galveston," 11 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of tidal wave

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for tidal wave

The first known use of tidal wave was in 1851

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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

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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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