- to flow back or away, as the water of a tide (opposed to flow).
- to decline or decay; fade away: His life is gradually ebbing.
Origin of ebb
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ebbs
“I wanted to show the kind of marriage that has its ebbs and flows,” Quindlen said.Anna Quindlen on Staying Happily Married
April 29, 2010
Twice a day it rises, and twice a day it sinks and ebbs again all along the shore.True Words for Brave Men
So the flood of affairs surging through the house, ebbs at her door.The Simple Life
It is the daily migration of labour, the tide morning and night ebbs and flows.Glimpses into the Abyss
But Cinna, comparing his happiness with the sea, forgot that the sea has its ebbs.Let us follow Him
If she holds till it ebbs they can clomber ashore, every man-jack of em.A Singular Life
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
- (of tide water) to flow back or recedeCompare flow (def. 9)
- to fall away or decline
- the flowing back of the tide from high to low water or the period in which this takes place
- (as modifier)the ebb tide Compare flood (def. 3)
- at a low ebb in a state or period of weakness, lack of vigour, or decline
Word Origin and History for ebbs
Old English ebbian, from the root of ebb (n.). Related: Ebbed; ebbing.
Old English ebba "ebb, low tide," perhaps from Proto-Germanic *abjon (cf. Old Frisian ebba, Old Saxon ebbiunga, Middle Dutch ebbe, Dutch eb, German Ebbe), from *ab-, from PIE root *apo- "off, away" (see apo-). Figurative sense of "decline, decay" is c.1400.