\ 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
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
tided; tiding

Definition of tide (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from tide


tideless \ ˈtīd-​ləs How to pronounce tideless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of tide in a Sentence

Noun a chart of the tides The boat got swept away in the tide.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With a tide of complaints in federal court, Bayer took the product off the market in December 2018. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "Bayer offers $1.6 billion to end thousands of lawsuits over Essure birth control implant," 9 Sep. 2020 This may not be the last time that market forces temporarily reverse the tide. Jinjoo Lee, WSJ, "Coal’s Moment in the Sun, Courtesy of Natural Gas," 6 Sep. 2020 Harris also said Alabama’s mask mandate was effective in stemming the tide of coronavirus cases in the state. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "’We cannot let our guard down’ Alabama officials urge caution over Labor Day," 2 Sep. 2020 My skilled colleagues of The Washington Post Fact-Checker team, who recently published a whole book on the president’s lies, have similarly done their best to hold back the tide of Trumpian falsehoods. Washington Post, "Fact-checking Trump’s lies is essential. It’s also increasingly fruitless.," 29 Aug. 2020 When the tide is out, wander north around sandstone outcroppings to Hug Point and Arcadia Beach or all the way to Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. oregonlive, "Travel deals benefit road trippers: Check out Oregon’s unique vacation getaways," 21 Aug. 2020 And the storm was approaching as the tide shifted and began to rush in, leaving low-lying areas vulnerable to flooding across parts of southeastern Texas and most of the Louisiana coastline, as well as inland areas up for 40 miles from the shore. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Hurricane Laura seen bursting with lightning in NOAA's satellite imagery," 27 Aug. 2020 In an unfortunate coincidence, 1 a.m. Thursday happens to be when the highest tide for the month is expected where the storm is projected to land. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, "Louisiana and Texas prepare for possibly 'catastrophic' damage from Hurricane Laura," 26 Aug. 2020 The program stemmed the tide of unauthorized border crossings in San Diego’s urban areas, but forced those who did make the journey to travel through dangerous wilderness areas. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2 brothers plead guilty in smuggling attempt that led to deaths of 3 women in East County mountains," 25 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Adding insult to injury, my coworkers and I were offered only a pittance of severance to tide us over through this incredible time of uncertainty. Shirley Smith, Fortune, "Why the Democratic Party must make a clean break with Wall Street," 8 Sep. 2020 She was not paid but had enough savings to tide her over. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "Inaccurate results from rapid COVID tests raise concerns about widespread screening," 25 Aug. 2020 Similar efforts are underway in Brazil and Argentina to tide these countries over until the arrival of an effective vaccine. Debbie Ponchner, Scientific American, "Costa Rica Readies Horse Antibodies for Trials as an Inexpensive COVID-19 Therapy," 17 Aug. 2020 That should tide you over to the next occasion for some more Bronco gossip. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "Ford Shows 4 Bronco Adventure Concepts for the SUV's Birthday," 13 Aug. 2020 Once a week, sometimes more often, his father picked up a bag full of pan de coco from a Honduran bodega, and Ford would grab one or two of the dense little rolls from the bag and run off to eat them to tide himself over before dinner. New York Times, "These Rolls Will Change the Way You See Sourdough," 5 Aug. 2020 And Stranger Things cosplay will tide us over until Stranger Things season 4 arrives. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "15 'Stranger Things' Halloween Costume Ideas to Bring You Closer to the Upside-Down," 30 June 2020 Considering that Fox is planning for The Masked Singer season 4 to premiere in the fall, some of the costumes have likely already been decided on, and maybe fans will get a sneak peek on May 20 to tide them over till then. Martha Sorren, Woman's Day, "'The Masked Singer' Season 3 Finale Date Got Moved, So Make Sure to Set the DVR," 14 May 2020 The local government arranged bank loans and other subsidies to help tide them through, but several have filed for bankruptcy in recent months. Washington Post, "A new Chuck E. Cheese children’s ride but no one to ride it," 1 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tide

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tide

Last Updated

11 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tide. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for tide


How to pronounce tide (audio)

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

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