\ ˈtīd \

Definition of tide 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a(1) : the alternate rising and falling of the surface of the ocean and of water bodies (such as gulfs and bays) connected with the ocean that occurs usually twice a day and is the result of differing gravitational forces exerted at different parts of the earth by another body (such as the moon or sun)

(2) : a less marked rising and falling of an inland body of water

(3) : a periodic movement in the earth's crust caused by the same forces that produce ocean tides

(4) : a periodic distortion on one celestial body caused by the gravitational attraction of another

(5) : one of the periodic movements of the atmosphere resembling those of the ocean and produced by gravitation or diurnal temperature changes

b : flood tide sense 1

2a : something that fluctuates like the tides of the sea the tide of public opinion

b : a large and increasing quantity or volume a tide of opportunists a swelling tide of criticism

3a : a flowing stream : current

b : the waters of the ocean

c : the overflow of a flooding stream

4a : a fit or opportune time : opportunity

b : an ecclesiastical anniversary or festival also : its season usually used in combination Eastertide

c obsolete : a space of time : period


verb (1)
tided; tiding

Definition of tide (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to flow as or in a tide : surge

transitive verb

: to cause to float with or as if with the tide


verb (2)
tided; tiding

Definition of tide (Entry 3 of 3)

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from tide


tideless \ˈtīd-ləs \ adjective

Examples of tide in a Sentence


a chart of the tides The boat got swept away in the tide.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In other news, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced plans to combat the teacher shortage in Pennsylvania, pumping $2 million into college residency programs in hopes to stem the tide. Oona Goodin-smith, Philly.com, "Families of Cosmo DiNardo murder victims speak out, Pa. to pay $2M to fight teacher shortage | Morning Newsletter," 13 July 2018 Studies built on the foundation of this one could ultimately pave the way for valuable wildebeest conservationist efforts, stemming the tide of habitat destruction and hunting by humans. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "How Noisy Males Control the Gnu’s Cycle," 11 July 2018 Four junior high girls want to continue working with the Naperville Park District to stem the tide of algae blooms in local ponds and rivers. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Naperville girls have the poop on best pond-friendly lawn fertilizer," 3 July 2018 In order to bring home the school’s sixth title overall, Central had to first stem the tide of a strong start by Oregon. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Seniors lead a charge that nets the Lancers a second straight WIAA title," 16 June 2018 Johnson spoke at a gathering of the nation’s big-city police chiefs in Washington on Thursday, exchanging ideas on what works and what needs to change to stem the tide of shootings in urban America. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, "Police chiefs plot new strategies against gun violence and mass shootings," 8 June 2018 That announcement did little to stem the tide, however, and the open letter would prove to be the first of three letters signed by high-ranking industry figures that called for change at the Recording Academy. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Recording Academy Chief Neil Portnow to Step Down Next Year," 31 May 2018 Trump can’t stem the tide of new, non-white immigrants without Congress’s help. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trumpism Is Having Its Best Week Ever," 10 May 2018 Then in 2015 the Texas Legislature authorized $800 million for 250 Department of Public Safety troopers to help stem the tide of immigrant families at the border. Aaron Nelsen, San Antonio Express-News, "After arrest of Valley organizer, immigrant community retreats to the shadows," 23 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The first two books, scheduled for this fall, will hopefully tide fans over until Season 3 of the series returns. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "'Stranger Things' prequel in the works," 11 June 2018 To tide you over till the weekend, here are the official wedding photos from the HGTV host and his new wife's big day. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Property Brother Drew Scott and Linda Phan's Wedding Photos are Finally Here," 31 May 2018 And so something like a little filler in the trough, plus the upper lids, will tide them over another five years or so, and then after a face-lift, for instance, tweaks can be made with fillers to just enhance the overall look. Carolyne Zinko, San Francisco Chronicle, "How to look your absolute best at any age? We asked the experts.," 15 May 2018 In a pinch, Nvidia’s GeForce Now game-streaming beta for PCs could tide you over in the interim. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "You can actually afford Nvidia GeForce graphics cards now," 9 May 2018 And to tide us over as Droughtlander rages on, Starz released three new images from Season 4 to celebrate today's big news. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Season 4 Will Premiere in November," 9 May 2018 So, royal watchers: These pictures will have to tide you over for now. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "See the First Official Portraits of Prince Louis," 5 May 2018 Some folks have generators and photovoltaic electric systems to tide us over should the power go out. Sunset, "Eruptions and Evacuations Continue on Hawaii’s Big Island," 22 Jan. 2018 This often excludes potentially valuable clients: immigrants anxious to build a good reputation in their new homeland; students with bright career prospects; hardworking, trustworthy individuals needing cash to tide them over a difficult patch. The Economist, "The bottom rungFinancial inclusion in the rich world," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tide.' 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 tide


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4c

Verb (1)

1593, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Verb (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tide


Middle English, time, from Old English tīd; akin to Old High German zīt time and perhaps to Greek daiesthai to divide

Verb (2)

Middle English, from Old English tīdan; akin to Middle Dutch tiden to go, come, Old English tīd time

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tide

Statistics for tide

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tide

The first known use of tide was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tide



English Language Learners Definition of tide

: the regular upward and downward movement of the level of the ocean that is caused by the pull of the Sun and the Moon on the Earth

: the flow of the ocean's water as the tide rises or falls

: the way in which something is changing or developing


\ ˈtīd \

Kids Definition of tide

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the rising and falling of the surface of the ocean caused twice daily by the attraction of the sun and the moon

2 : something that rises and falls or rushes in a mass The tide of public opinion often changes.


tided; tiding

Kids Definition of tide (Entry 2 of 2)

: to help to overcome or put up with a difficulty A snack will tide me over until dinner.


\ ˈtīd \

Medical Definition of tide 

: a temporary increase or decrease in a specified substance or quality in the body or one of its systems a postprandial alkaline tide, the typical rise in urinary pH associated with gastric acid secretion —E. J. Jacobson & Gerhard Fuchs

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tide

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


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!