\ˈwād \
waded; wading

Definition of wade 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to step in or through a medium (such as water) offering more resistance than air

2 : to move or proceed with difficulty or labor wade through the crowd wade through all the evidence

3 : to set to work or attack with determination or vigor used with in or into wade into a task

transitive verb

: to pass or cross by wading



Definition of wade (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of wading a wade in the brook

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Other Words from wade


wadable or wadeable \ˈwā-​də-​bəl \ adjective

Examples of wade in a Sentence


We waded into the ocean. I jumped off the boat and waded back to shore. Police waded into the crowd. We waded through the crowded bus station. It took several weeks to wade through all the evidence. We waded our way through the crowd.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Harrell will sometimes wade into conversations to remind followers about the importance of nonviolence. Jenice Armstrong, Philly.com, "Instagram's No Gun Zone is out to make Philly's mean streets safer | Jenice Armstrong," 11 July 2018 Check out the video above to wade into the debate, and to decide for yourself about that bird call. William Poor, The Verge, "This monster plant is taking over Silicon Valley — should we let it?," 7 Aug. 2018 Wade in the water, wade in the water children Wade in the water, God’s gonna trouble the water This was my second visit since the museum opened in 2016. Jenice Armstrong, Philly.com, "Kudos to Philly police for sending recruits to Smithsonian African American Museum | Jenice Armstrong," 10 July 2018 Now science has a robot that can wade through waters with a more sensitive touch. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Soft Robotic Arm Is Built To Study the Ocean's Most Delicate Creatures," 3 Oct. 2018 In the wild, Western lowland gorillas might do it for a few seconds to reach food or wade into swamps. David Caraccio, sacbee, "This video of gorilla walking like a human goes viral | The Sacramento Bee," 20 Mar. 2018 Migrants seeking asylum who cross the border illegally generally don’t come to the port, but swim or wade across the Rio Grande and turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "U.S. Troops’ First Order at the Border: Laying Razor Wire," 6 Nov. 2018 About a thousand miles away in the Ituri region, on the other side of the Democratic Republic of Congo, people fleeing a massacre climb out of boats and wade ashore, their homes burned to the ground, their dead unburied. Robyn Dixon, latimes.com, "Violence is roiling the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some human rights authorities suggest it's a strategy to keep the president in power," 12 Apr. 2018 While advocates were willing to wade into tech’s gray areas, the campaigns stuck closer to the shore. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "How Tech Shaped San Francisco’s Unresolved Mayor’s Race," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

People who live on cream cheese–filled doughnuts, swimming in their sepulcher vans surrounded by garden gnomes, tea wades, and packs of baseball cards with stale sticks of gum from who knows what year. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Living Yard Sale to Yard Sale With My Mother, a Well Dressed Antique Dealer," 30 Aug. 2018 What had started as a frisky romance built of the alluring but classically patronizing male-director/female-star relationship quickly devolves into a jokey wade into a petulant, misanthropic mind. Robert Abele, latimes.com, "'Godard Mon Amour' isn't as smart or funny a sendup as it wants to be," 19 Apr. 2018 After busting out a flurry of impressive shimmies, spins and swings for 25 seconds straight, Zola cools down and goes back to enjoying a relaxing wade in his pool. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "WATCH: Breakdancing Zoo Gorilla Could Star in a Flashdance Reboot Right Now," 23 June 2017 Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: Access limited; trout good on nightcrawlers and pink Power Worms; water too high for normal wade fishing. Bruce Janssen, kansascity.com, "Fishing report for May 4," 3 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wade.' 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 wade


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1665, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wade


Middle English, from Old English wadan; akin to Old High German watan to go, wade, Latin vadere to go

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Statistics for wade

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wade

The first known use of wade was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for wade



English Language Learners Definition of wade

: to walk through water

: to move or proceed with difficulty

: to become involved in a discussion, situation, activity, etc., in a forceful, direct, or careless way


\ˈwād \
waded; wading

Kids Definition of wade

1 : to walk through something (as water, snow, or a crowd) that makes it hard to move

2 : to pass or cross by stepping through water We decided to wade the stream.

3 : to proceed with difficulty She's wading through paperwork.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wade

Spanish Central: Translation of wade

Nglish: Translation of wade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wade for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wade

What made you want to look up wade? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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