ebb

[ eb ]
/ ɛb /

noun

the flowing back of the tide as the water returns to the sea (opposed to flood, flow).
a flowing backward or away; decline or decay: the ebb of a once great nation.
a point of decline: His fortunes were at a low ebb.

verb (used without object)

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

before 1000; (noun) Middle English eb(be), Old English ebba; cognate with Old Frisian ebba, Dutch eb(be), German Ebbe ebb, Old Norse efja place where water backs up; (v.) Middle English ebben, Old English ebbian, derivative of the noun; akin to off

OTHER WORDS FROM ebb

un·ebbed, adjectiveun·ebb·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ebb

British Dictionary definitions for ebb

ebb
/ (ɛb) /

verb (intr)

(of tide water) to flow back or recedeCompare flow (def. 9)
to fall away or decline

noun

  1. the flowing back of the tide from high to low water or the period in which this takes place
  2. (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 for ebb

Old English ebba; related to Old Norse efja river bend, Gothic ibuks moving backwards, Old High German ippihōn to roll backwards, Middle Dutch ebbe ebb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with ebb

ebb

In addition to the idioms beginning with ebb

  • ebb and flow

also see:

  • at a low ebb
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.