\ 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 wadeable (audio) \ 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

Holm isn’t likely to wade into an immediate brawl, as Cyborg did, and her kickboxing acumen is likely to force Nunes to be more patient. Greg Beacham, The Denver Post, "The best ever? Jon Jones, Amanda Nunes could make cases at UFC 239.," 5 July 2019 In Frontera Hidalgo, most Guatemalans crossing the river come to buy food and other goods at the town’s shops and then wade back. Washington Post, "Illegal crossings a part of life at Mexico’s southern border," 14 June 2019 Children search through piles of rubbish, goats, and cows chew on plastic, rice farmers wade through their paddy fields. Gaia Vince, Quartz, "How to survive in the world’s largest refugee camp," 8 June 2019 Those without proper documentation to enter Colombia use clandestine trails and wade across a river that marks the border. Manuel Rueda, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Cucuta, Colombia — The gateway into Venezuela," 4 Feb. 2019 What happens as Amazon, Apple , Google and Facebook wade more deeply into this pond using their huge revenues from unrelated businesses to subsidize their competition for streaming eyeballs? Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Hollywood vs. #MeToo and Streaming," 28 Dec. 2018 This is icky moral territory to wade into at any time, but especially in an era when terrible men are newly exposed every day, and asking viewers to spend a 10-episode season trapped inside the brain of one feels like a tall order. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "You, now streaming on Netflix, tilts the rom-com into postmodern horror," 27 Dec. 2018 As if his gutsy guitar playing and growling vocals weren’t enough, Clearwater loved to wade into the crowd or don his beloved Indian headdress or duck-walk across the stage in homage to his early hero, Chuck Berry. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Eddy Clearwater, 83, dies: An eclectic Chicago bluesman brought a rock vibe to the music," 2 June 2018 In Campbell's neighborhood, Kevin Caudle has donned waders to wade in and check on his house multiple days this week. Alex Derosier And Alan Suderman, Fox News, "Reckoning with loss of homes, livelihoods after Florence," 21 Sep. 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

10 Jul 2019

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 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

Spanish Central: Translation of wade

Nglish: Translation of wade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wade for Arabic Speakers

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