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waded; wading

intransitive verb

: to step in or through a medium (such as water) offering more resistance than air
: to move or proceed with difficulty or labor
wade through the crowd
wade through all the evidence
: 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
wadable adjective
or wadeable


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: an act of wading
a wade in the brook

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
Instead of wading through a maze of automated responses, you could instantly be connected to an AI tech guru or personal shopper, each familiar with your purchase history and communication style preferences. Gary Fowler, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Learn More › When a big flathead bites your hand, your buddies wading nearby can feel the thump reverberate through the water. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, 15 Nov. 2023 There are also financial considerations to wading in. Emma Goldberg, New York Times, 8 Nov. 2023 Kozinski thought the 5th Circuit’s conduct — and the federal courts’ unwillingness to wade into it — might provide a valuable test for AEDPA. Anat Rubin, ProPublica, 4 Nov. 2023 An Ecuadorian migrant family helps each other wade through the river in the wild and dangerous jungle on Nov. 20, 2022, in Darién Gap, Colombia. Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 18 Oct. 2023 Introduction Nevertheless, Partch waded into the unknown and began to send back dispatches. Quanta Magazine, 10 Oct. 2023 Columnist Carolyn Hax has answered countless questions about how to wade through the complexities of estrangement. Haben Kelati, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 Their wives then waded into the Thames and dragged them ashore, sometimes nobly heaving the wet flag back on deck so it could be used on the next fallen hero. Mike O’Brien, The New Yorker, 9 Nov. 2023
Scarpetta, who has been identifying killers across 27 books, wades into the supernatural in Unnatural Death. Carly Tagen-Dye, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 When he’s finished in the goat sheds, Dr. Getachew wades into sewage ponds and drainage ditches with a dipper, looking for larval stephensi, which are easier to spot. Stephanie Nolen Tiksa Negeri, New York Times, 29 Sep. 2023 Malti wades in the waves while wearing a white-and-gray striped onesie and a white sun hat. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 2 Aug. 2023 Biden wades into disability rights case But there have also been high-profile scandals involving the litigation. John Fritze, USA TODAY, 14 Aug. 2023 Just like people, dogs get hot too, and cooling off with a nice wade in the pool can be quite appealing. Patricia Shannon, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 May 2023 As horse racing wades through its most notable five-week period of the year, there is one name that, as usual, dominates the conversation, that of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. OPINION Opinion: A map of 1,001 novels to show us where to find the real America. Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2023 Once estimated to be worth $16 billion, Bankman-Fried has said his wealth has all but vanished, while the scores of investors who had held money on the exchange are trying to claw back their funds as FTX wades through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Julian Mark, Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2023 The Onion wades into legal case with parody Barrett:Who is Amy Coney Barrett? John Fritze, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wade.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


1665, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near wade

Cite this Entry

“Wade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wade. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


waded; wading
: to step in or through a substance (as water, mud, or sand) that is thicker than air
: to move or proceed slowly or with difficulty
wade through a dull book
: to attack or work energetically
waded into their chores
: to pass or cross by wading
wade a stream

More from Merriam-Webster on wade

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