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: 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)
: a less marked rising and falling of an inland body of water
: a periodic movement in the earth's crust caused by the same forces that produce ocean tides
: a periodic distortion on one celestial body caused by the gravitational attraction of another
: one of the periodic movements of the atmosphere resembling those of the ocean and produced by gravitation or diurnal temperature changes
: something that fluctuates like the tides of the sea
the tide of public opinion
: a large and increasing quantity or volume
a tide of opportunists
a swelling tide of criticism
: a flowing stream : current
: the waters of the ocean
: the overflow of a flooding stream
: a fit or opportune time : opportunity
: an ecclesiastical anniversary or festival
also : its season
usually used in combination
obsolete : a space of time : period
tideless adjective


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verb (1)

tided; tiding

intransitive verb

: to flow as or in a tide : surge

transitive verb

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


3 of 3

verb (2)

tided; tiding

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
The rising tide of your nonconference opponents lifts your boat as well, even in the conference season. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Feb. 2024 Arlington has traditionally relied on commercial buildings for about half of its property tax revenue, so that the rising tide of empty offices could likely leave Arlington with less money coming in. Teo Armus, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2024 This is the energy that will turn the tide, not within a matter of decades, but hopefully in the years ahead. Reinhold Ernst Tribune News Service, arkansasonline.com, 5 Feb. 2024 On Friday, Haley told the crowd she’s still got time to turn the tide. Mary Ramsey, Charlotte Observer, 3 Feb. 2024 Once the acquisition is ratified by the Premier League, the race is on for INEOS to turn the tide around at United, and save a decaying brand from eroding those record-breaking revenues the club has come to rely on. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 3 Feb. 2024 While thousands of us are working every day to turn the tide, no movement can be successful without the public. Riley Gaines, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 Only with more and better weapons systems—both offensive and defensive—can Ukraine turn the tide on the battlefield. Eric Schmidt, Foreign Affairs, 22 Jan. 2024 Europe at present cannot supply the amount of more advanced weaponry that Ukraine has said is essential to turning the tide against Russian forces. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Jan. 2024
In recent weeks, the region’s coast has seen powerful waves, flooding, and abnormally high king tides. Will McCarthy, The Mercury News, 12 Jan. 2024 The tasty, soft-shell crab bao buns will tide you over nicely. Ann Marie McQueen, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Nov. 2023 That would tide Ukraine over in the short term but cast a shadow over Europe’s long-term ambitions as a reliable geopolitical player. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 17 Dec. 2023 Sure, Dune: Part Two could’ve already been in theaters by now in an alternate universe where striking actors got a fair contract right off the bat — but, hey, at least there’s now a third trailer to tide us over until the second half of the sci-fi epic arrives next year. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 12 Dec. 2023 According to The Post and Courier, tides in Charleston Harbor peaked at 9.86 feet on Sunday afternoon, just as a Nor’easter made its way into the Lowcountry from Georgia. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 18 Dec. 2023 Tides Would Be Significantly Bigger Our ocean tides result from a combination of the moon’s gravitational force, which pulls oceans towards it, and the force directed away from the moon caused by the Earth’s rotation around the barycenter, the point around which two celestial bodies orbit. Matt Benoit, Discover Magazine, 1 Dec. 2023 Cinema owners will have to rely more than usual on Christmas films to tide them over until March 1, when Warners’ Dune: Part Two — the year’s first all-audience tentpole — opens. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Dec. 2023 Other sale section highlights include a versatile finishing creme from Fekkai and a jumbo-size bottle of Olaplex's No. 3 Hair Perfector that'll tide you over until the next blowout sale. Sarah Han, Allure, 27 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tide.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near tide

Cite this Entry

“Tide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tide. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: the alternate rising and falling of the surface of the ocean that occurs twice a day and is caused by the gravitational attraction of the sun and moon occurring unequally on different parts of the earth
: the flow of the incoming or outgoing tide
: something that rises and falls like the tides of the sea


2 of 2 verb
tided; tiding
: to enable to overcome or put up with a difficulty
money to tide us over

Medical Definition


: 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 secretionE. J. Jacobson & Gerhard Fuchs

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