\ 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 The grassroots group Texas Organizing Project, which withheld its endorsement of Nirenberg until Brockhouse forced the runoff, hasn’t yet decided whether to wade into the race. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, "In mayoral rematch between Nirenberg and Brockhouse, San Antonio's pandemic recovery and police reform will take center stage," 31 Jan. 2021 For his part, Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill didn’t wade into the dangerous disrespect the Browns waters. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Kareem Hunt on Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins dismissing the Browns: ‘We’ll see what he thinks after the game’," 14 Jan. 2021 Yet the West need not wade into this kind of geopolitical construct to be constructive, Olga Oliker, program director for Europe and Central Asia at the International Crisis Group, told an editorial writer. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "False election claims erode U.S. credibility," 8 Dec. 2020 Obama has asked readers to wade through more than 700 pages in the service of that conclusion; the book itself—only the first of two volumes—is a testament to his faith in the perseverance of the American people. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Barack Obama Doesn’t Have the Answers," 19 Nov. 2020 But the decision to wade into heavy waters like the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice was one not made lightly, creator Dan Fogelman told reporters on Friday. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "'This Is Us' boss says it would have 'felt almost irresponsible' not to address current events in new season," 23 Oct. 2020 The double-edged sword of shopping on the 'Zon is that there's just so much stuff to wade through. Karina Hoshikawa, refinery29.com, "18 Amazon Valentine’s Day Gifts They’ll Swoon Over," 13 Jan. 2021 All vehicles are four-wheel-drive with the ability to wade into 35-plus inches of water. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Rugged meets refined in Land Rover’s remade Defender (review)," 10 Oct. 2020 At many news outlets, the comment magnets are articles that wade into the thorniest controversies, sparking flame wars from the tinder of entrenched political views. Quanta Magazine, "Our Favorite Comments of the Year," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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

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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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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wade. Accessed 5 Mar. 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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