\ ˈwād How to pronounce wade (audio) \
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 How to pronounce wade (audio) \ adjective

Examples of wade in a Sentence

Verb 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 Using Ockham’s razor is a great way to wade through this manipulation. Teddy Mcdarrah, Forbes, "We’ve Got It Simple: What Philosophy Teaches Us About Making Better Decisions," 19 Apr. 2021 The amphibious assault began before dawn on April 17 and went awry from the start, as the landing craft hit coral and the 1,300 or so men were forced to wade 75 yards through the waves. Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Florida Resort That Played an Unlikely Role in the Bay of Pigs Fiasco," 16 Apr. 2021 But anybody can put an NFT up for sale on these sites, and visiting one is to wade through an undifferentiated mass of images. Simon Willis, Fortune, "Crypto millionaires’ love of NFTs is a boon for the aging art market—but galleries may miss out," 14 Apr. 2021 To help prospective renters sort out the patchwork of regulations, Airbnb lists government restrictions on its site, but be prepared to wade through the fine print. Deborah Dunn, WSJ, "Is It Safe to Travel Again? Your Coronavirus Questions Answered," 26 Feb. 2021 The question that perplexed administrators and onlookers this summer has resurfaced: Will the FBS be able to wade through cancellations and postponements to cross the finish line? Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "COVID-19 'numbers game' causes turmoil throughout college football for wild stretch Monday," 10 Nov. 2020 The other two CEOs don't wade into the Section 230 debate or discuss the role of government in as much granularity. Brian Fung, CNN, "Facebook, Twitter and Google CEOs testify before Congress on misinformation," 25 Mar. 2021 The House will wade into the issue Friday when the antitrust panel holds a hearing as part of its initiative to consider antitrust reforms following a 16-month investigation that accused tech companies of squashing competition. David Mclaughlin, Fortune, "Tech war with news media flares in U.S. with new Congress push," 11 Mar. 2021 Leaders who frequently wade into tactics risk altering operations and even the strategy based on the minutiae. John Berry, Forbes, "Four Combat-Learned Principles For Leadership Success," 25 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Liberals are no longer just cheering as CEOs wade into politics. Vivek Ramaswamy, National Review, "Corporate America’s Siege on Democracy," 13 Apr. 2021 On Chatroulette, strangers meet anonymously and don’t have to give away their data or wade through ads. Kevin Randall, Wired, "Chatroulette Is On the Rise Again—With Help From AI," 26 Dec. 2020 The creek is friendly for both bank and wade anglers. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "Trout streams reveal the splendor of North Georgia," 15 Oct. 2020 The outdoorsy and adventurous can pencil dive into a gorge or wade under a waterfall. Alex Erdekian, Condé Nast Traveler, "7 Easy Weekend Trips from NYC," 17 June 2020 For example, to provide a surprise snack to the Animal Kingdom's hungry hippos, an employee will stand up on a small cliff, bang a bucket to signal a special treat, and the hippos wade over to feast on heads of lettuce tossed into the water. Lisa A. Beach, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Walt Disney World Is Caring for Its 10,000 Animals While Parks Are Closed," 15 June 2020 Fifty years later, Black residents in Connecticut staged wade-ins up and down the state’s shoreline—a protest against the fact that wealthy, white residents had privatized 65 of the 72 available miles of beaches. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Racist Gatekeepers of American Land," 29 May 2020 What followed was a series of challenges trying to block access for wade-fishermen. Christine Peterson, Outdoor Life, "What’s Gained and Lost by Privatizing River Access?," 13 Apr. 2020 How does one wade through the mess to find the helpful, accurate information and ignore the rest? Tara C. Smith, SELF, "Here’s Exactly Where to Get Accurate Coronavirus News," 3 Mar. 2020

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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Learn More about wade

Time Traveler for wade

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wade

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wade. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce wade (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wade

Nglish: Translation of wade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wade for Arabic Speakers

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