\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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Rather than wade into the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, the Jaguars decided to re-sign Bortles for three more years and $54 million. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Jaguars training camp questions: Blake Bortles holds key to offense's progress," 26 June 2018 Visitors to the park will still be able to wade in the creek, but is even that safe? Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "Swimming barred, but is wading safe?," 10 June 2018 The Supreme Court declined to wade into the finger-pointing between the sides. Adam Liptak, BostonGlobe.com, "Supreme Court sides with baker who turned away gay couple," 5 June 2018 Pemberton and Wright have allowed their daughter to wade slowly into the world of sponsorships; the viral cellphone app Pigeon Pop offered her over $3,000 a month for one minute a week sponsoring the game, Wright says. Justin Jacobs, Indianapolis Star, "Greenwood teen has 3M Musical.ly fans. But after being bullied, she goes to school alone," 6 July 2018 In today’s Caracas, malnourished families rummage through garbage for food, and young men wade into a toxic open sewer searching for scraps of metal to sell. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "The Lights Have Gone Out in Caracas," 13 May 2018 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Even then, Roach had already decided to wade into the NBA draft pool in an effort to receive feedback from scouts and coaches. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Roach’s return key for Longhorns," 12 July 2018 After that, the Marlins have to wade through their options. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Michael Hill on Marlins prospect Sandy Alcantara: 'We’re taking our time with him'," 25 June 2018 Only three times did the Padres face Ureña with a runner in scoring position, and only three times did San Diego wade more than five pitches into an at-bat with Ureña. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "A Closer Look: San Diego Padres 3, Miami Marlins 1," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wade

Dictionary Entries near wade








Statistics for wade

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wade

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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 state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!