\ 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 Setting the stage as an affordable electric vehicle that people actually wanted to buy, the Leaf persuaded other automakers to wade further into the EV waters. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 6 Oct. 2021 Leibovitz took it in the middle of the pool, rolling up her pants to wade in and climb a gardener’s ladder. Chloe Malle, Vogue, 17 Aug. 2021 And that’s leaving out someone who may decide, rather than dipping their toes in, to wade in waist-deep for half the year to get every practice and qualifying session. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 21 July 2021 New Yorkers have barely recovered from the sight of subway riders pulling garbage bags over their legs to wade into waist-high brown pools at stations across the city. Willy Blackmore, Curbed, 20 July 2021 Images from the Del Rio area show crowds of migrants at the camp while others wade across the Rio Grande near the bridge. Paul Leblanc, CNN, 19 Sep. 2021 Officers watched from a distance and did not wade into the fray. oregonlive, 9 Sep. 2021 Teams like the Giants have taken the game out of the grasp of the ordinary fan, who can’t or wade deep enough into the analytics to understand or enjoy what’s going on. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Sep. 2021 Last month, the US Forest Service warned that toxic algae had been discovered in the Merced River and urged people not to swim, wade or allow their pets to drink the water. Cheri Mossburg And David Williams, CNN, 19 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Together, the three wade through the redistricting process, and what advocates say formerly incarcerated individuals such as Jones — and their communities — have to lose. Detroit Free Press, 8 Oct. 2021 Hundreds of revellers from the mainland join the local fishermen and wade waist-deep into the water with small nets to make a catch. The New Yorker, 4 Oct. 2021 Investigators are plowing ahead as Trump continues to weigh his political future and wade into Peach State politics with a Georgia rally set for late September. Sara Murray And Jason Morris, CNN, 17 Sep. 2021 Electricity pulses into the water by Willow Creek as Sky Hedden and Stephen Farrar wade deeper into the tributary to the Little Colorado River. Anton L. Delgado, The Arizona Republic, 13 Sep. 2021 The bar was so named because there’s no dock, so thirsty sailors-by would have to toss anchor, jump overboard and wade to shore, sidling up to the sandy six-seat bar with a pocket of wet bills and a mind to spend them on rum. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 29 July 2021 Black swimmers were at times violently attacked for trying to enter a pool or even public beaches, such as during the Biloxi wade-ins. Sean Gregory/tokyo, Time, 27 July 2021 But many guests are content to just hang out on the beach and wade into the lagoon. Laurie Werner, Forbes, 11 June 2021 Why would any savvy politician wade back into that morass? Natalie Wexler, Forbes, 7 May 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wade. Accessed 20 Oct. 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.

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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