\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)

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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

If the tide is low enough, walk south down the sand, past the large promontory, and over to your own secluded piece of Half Moon Bay. SFChronicle.com, "5 hidden beaches around Half Moon Bay," 12 July 2018 The rising tide of pedestrian deaths is primarily an urban plague that kills minorities at a disproportionate rate. Detroit Free Press, "Death on foot," 28 June 2018 As the dollar has rallied, the tide has been going out for emerging-market assets more generally. Richard Barley, WSJ, "Erdogan’s Victory in Turkey Creates Clarity but Not Confidence," 25 June 2018 The tide was outbound, running with the wind, but waves seemed to be raging every direction at once. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 For years, the San Francisco Middle Eastern food scene was stagnant, and the changing tide isn’t something that’s lost on David Cohen. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "Palo Alto’s wildly popular Oren’s Hummus mini-chain is expanding to SF," 12 June 2018 Minor flooding is forecast especially for early Thursday and Friday mornings when the tide is highest. Rosemarie Stein | The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "Portland metro Thursday weather: Morning clouds give way to afternoon sun; high of 70," 17 May 2018 In a committed relationship, however, the tides are not as easy to navigate. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Worst Relationship Habit," 14 May 2018 Skies were mostly clear, winds were brisk at about 15 knots out of the southeast, and the tide was high but falling hard most of the day. Todd Masson, NOLA.com, "Spin to win! Roulette wheel decides which baits we fish," 21 Feb. 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.

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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

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Statistics for tide

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tide

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

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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

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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 reject or criticize sharply

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