\ ˈtīd How to pronounce tide (audio) \

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
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 How to pronounce tideless (audio) \ 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

The new trailer for Midway previews a frantic and chaotic depiction of the titular naval battle that turned the tide of the war. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Midway trailer puts Nick Jonas and Ed Skrein in World War II naval battle," 27 June 2019 For me, this solo turned the tide of the evening, which until then had consisted of a group opener and a gaggle of solos and duets of a more allegorical nature. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "'Internal Geometry' by Natya Dance Theatre is hardly radical but has women telling the story," 15 June 2019 But the race gave Texas Democrats across the nation hope that O'Rourke might finally be the one to start turning the tide in a state that has for the past 30 years consistently been a Republican stronghold. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Stephen Colbert asks Beto O'Rourke to drop White House bid, run for Senate seat in Texas," 13 June 2019 As the tide comes in and rolls out, the universe takes many shapes and constantly evolves. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Dave Navarro Shares Brutally Honest Note on Suicide & Depression: 'Please Reach Out if You Find Yourself in the Darkness'," 11 June 2018 The unknown owner of one learned this the hard way when he or she got stuck on a road traversing a marsh as the tide came in. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Boaters find Jaguar sports car submerged in marsh," 17 May 2018 Yet the tide of change has come — at best — in fits and starts in the music business. August Brown, latimes.com, "SXSW asks where is music’s #MeToo moment? Or did it happen and no one cared?," 16 Mar. 2018 She also was pressured to resign from prominent board positions amid a rising tide of calls to have her other past cases reexamined. Clarence Page, chicagotribune.com, "Netflix series about Central Park 5 renews ‘mob mentality’ accusations," 11 June 2019 Trump’s tax cuts, which blew a huge hole in the budget, play a major role in the rising tide of red in the nation’s books. David Lauter, latimes.com, "A weak front-runner takes a hard punch as debates shake up the Democratic 2020 field," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The symphony then began to discuss the possibility of obtaining a $1 million bridge loan from the state to tide the organization over — a sum that conceivably could have paid the musicians’ salaries and benefits this summer. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "BSO owed vendors $2.1 million as of April, nearly doubling amount owed 19 months ago," 25 June 2019 So, to tide you over until your team actually signs someone, here are the best transfer rumours this Sunday has to offer. SI.com, "Transfer Rumours: Everton to United, Trippier to Juve, Tokoz to Liverpool or Arsenal and More," 16 June 2019 Some advocates and lawmakers have questioned Pennsylvania’s timeline or urged the DEP to create a temporary rule to tide the state over until the two-to-three-year process is done. Laura Mccrystal, https://www.inquirer.com, "Setting clean water standards is the EPA’s job. Pa. and other states are doing it instead.," 6 June 2019 The housewife turned comedian will make her triumphant return to your TV screen in just a few short weeks, so to tide fans over Amazon just released an official trailer for the new episodes. D. Elizabeth, Glamour, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Is Back With a New Full-Length Season 2 Trailer," 24 Oct. 2018 Nutrition: Bring enough food to tide you over on your hike, plus extra snacks in case you are unexpectedly delayed on your return. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "Expert tips and 10 essentials for staying safe in the wilderness," 21 Aug. 2018 To tide us over until our TV screens are once again graced by the Reagan family, CBS released a brand new trailer for the upcoming episodes. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "The New 'Blue Bloods' Trailer for Season 9 Is Here and It's So Intense," 26 Sep. 2018 Here are three recent innovations to tide us over until Bose reinvents suspension entirely. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "3 Technologies That Are Making Car Suspensions Smarter Than Ever," 31 Jan. 2017 But on the bright side, Ari just released a three-and-a-half-minute behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the video to tide you over until then. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Ariana Grande Just Shared Behind-the-Scenes Footage From Her 'Thank U, Next' Video," 29 Nov. 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

16 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce tide (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tide (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tide

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tide

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tide

Spanish Central: Translation of tide

Nglish: Translation of tide for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tide for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tide

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).


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!