\ 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 intowade 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 How to pronounce wadeable (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sure, some were believed to splash around or wade in prehistoric rivers, not unlike a lizard-like version of today’s grizzly bears. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "Most dinosaurs didn’t swim—but this ‘dino equivalent of Jaws’ sure did," 14 May 2020 The Fed’s decision to wade into certain high-yield, high risk junk-bond ETFs is one of the more controversial steps taken by Chairman Jerome Powell. Lisa Lee, Bloomberg.com, "No Junk Debt Is Too Risky: How Fed’s Bailout Changed Everything," 28 Apr. 2020 Celebrity Packers fan Lil Wayne didn't wade into that debate on Thursday night. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Packers fan Lil Wayne gives Jordan Love his blessing, calling the QB 'a cheesehead for real'," 24 Apr. 2020 Now, with the passage of the Senate bill, the Fed will wade into medium-term debt markets for the first time through three new lending facilities. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Fed’s Unprecedented Crisis Response," 27 Mar. 2020 Trying to wade through this new reality is a lot, to put it extremely lightly. Patia Braithwaite, SELF, "17 TV Shows to Watch That Are Delightful and Distracting," 31 Mar. 2020 Impossible to predict’ Political experts are unsure if Trump will wade into the Alabama GOP contest until after the primary, perhaps before the runoff. al, "Alabama Senate GOP hopefuls praise Trump in hopes for his endorsement," 14 Nov. 2019 With El Paso still fresh, Texas lawmakers wade into gun relations. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Lockdown lifted for Houston school after reports of armed man near building," 28 Oct. 2019 The letter from Senator Tillis and his House colleagues raises fundamental questions about the ALI's decision to wade into such deep policy waters that should be fully answered before any 'restatement' of copyright goes forward. Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard, "Lawmakers Urge American Law Institute Not to Publish New Copyright Restatements," 5 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Trout remain active in the rivers on the west side on topwaters and Slick lures, and in the surf at Dauphin Island at dawn for wade-fishers. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: Find out what’s biting as fall finally arrives," 11 Oct. 2019 Schindler and his assistant, Eli Fournier, an undergraduate at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, wade upstream, counting salmon. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "How a salmon scientist got hooked into a battle over the world’s largest gold mine," 26 Sep. 2019 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.

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

Time Traveler for wade

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for wade

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wade. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wade


How to pronounce wade (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!