\ 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)

Keep scrolling for more

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 Police have responded to eight more shootings with injuries in the first week of October alone, raising red flags for officials and community advocates working to stem the tide. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Shootings in Hartford have surged since September, primarily in northern section of the city, police data show," 9 Oct. 2020 To stem the tide, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (D) issued emergency orders that, among other measures, closed all public parks. Washington Post, "U.S. Surgeon General cited for breaking Hawaiian covid-19 rules by snapping photos in a closed park," 7 Oct. 2020 There was some optimism, however, that the camp could stem the tide if the weather conditions continued to improve. Ben Leonard, baltimoresun.com, "102 years ago this week, Baltimore was about to get ravaged by the ‘Spanish flu’," 24 Sep. 2020 The main characters are health-care workers, nurses and doctors who flit from patient to patient to try and stem a tide of death. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The First Major COVID-19 Documentary Is a Brutal Watch," 24 Sep. 2020 Is there any way to stem the tide of endless work, to halt or even reverse the destruction of state support and an ethic of care? Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "The Generation That Was Exhausted," 18 Sep. 2020 But the steps that that have been achieved are still not enough to stem the tide of biodiversity loss. Gloria Dickie, Scientific American, "Global Biodiversity Is in Free Fall," 15 Sep. 2020 Further Reading States, feds try to end scourge of coronavirus price-gouging By March, regulators were desperately trying to stem the tide of price gouging flooding online retailers, especially Amazon's sprawling third-party Marketplace. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Price gouging and defective products rampant on Amazon, reports find," 11 Sep. 2020 So my heart broke a little extra a scant month later when — to help stem the rising tide of COVID-19 — every restaurant had to decide between shutting down for who knows how long or scaling back its operations to takeout and delivery. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Introducing: Top 10 Takeout, a new dining series designed for socially distant times," 10 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That kind of promise could allow entities to borrow money to tide them over for a few months, shoring up confidence and setting the stage for a better economic environment in 2021. Conor Sen, Star Tribune, "The next few months could shape our economic future," 11 Oct. 2020 When Congress gave passenger airlines a $50 billion bailout in March, industry executives hoped the aid would tide them over until the fall, when more people might be traveling and a vaccine might be closer at hand. Niraj Chokshi, New York Times, "Airlines, Facing a Painfully Slow Recovery, Begin Furloughing Thousands," 1 Oct. 2020 So far, Americans have drawn on their savings to tide themselves over in the absence of further government aid. Rich Miller, Bloomberg.com, "Powell Calling New Rate Road Map ‘Powerful’ Doesn’t Make It So," 20 Sep. 2020 The 150-camera donation — which the Governor's Office said was offered to, not solicited by, the Ducey administration — is meant to tide DPS over until lawmakers reconvene and revisit the governor's broader body camera proposal next year. Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic, "Ducey announces 150 body cameras for Arizona state troopers, but donation may come with strings," 1 Oct. 2020 Forecasters said Beta is expected to stall inland over Texas on Tuesday by bringing more heavy rainfall inland and a lingering threat of dangerous storm surge and tide along the coast. Janice Dean, Fox News, "Tropical Storm Beta bringing 'excessive' rainfall to Houston area, dangerous storm surge after Texas landfall," 21 Sep. 2020 Thankfully, the weekend offered plenty of fun to tide us over, as the Los Angeles Lakers ended the Houston Rockets' season and the Nuggets staved off elimination with another dramatic win over the Clippers. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Nikola Jokic a ‘bad you know what,’ Clippers are ‘choke artists,’ Anfernee Simons helps schools, Pau Gasol honors Kobe: NBA playoffs news and notes," 14 Sep. 2020 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

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

Time Traveler for tide

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for tide

Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tide. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!