Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

ebb

[eb]
See more synonyms for ebb on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. the flowing back of the tide as the water returns to the sea (opposed to flood, flow).
  2. a flowing backward or away; decline or decay: the ebb of a once great nation.
  3. a point of decline: His fortunes were at a low ebb.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to flow back or away, as the water of a tide (opposed to flow).
  2. to decline or decay; fade away: His life is gradually ebbing.
Show More

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
Related formsun·ebbed, adjectiveun·ebb·ing, adjective

Synonyms

See more synonyms for ebb on Thesaurus.com
4. subside, abate, recede, retire. 5. dwindle, diminish, decrease.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ebbing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Lingard followed her on the edge of the sand uncovered by the ebbing tide.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad

  • While the cannon were flashing he drifted with the ebbing tide.

  • The beauty of the ebbing night caught at his sleeve, but the dawn held him back.

    The Dragon Painter

    Mary McNeil Fenollosa

  • It was the same proposition as Ebbing had reported the delegate offered.

    Cubs of the Wolf

    Raymond F. Jones

  • They had suddenly begun to throb, poor things, with alarm at the ebbing hours.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James


British Dictionary definitions for ebbing

ebb

verb (intr)
  1. (of tide water) to flow back or recedeCompare flow (def. 9)
  2. to fall away or decline
Show More
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)
  1. at a low ebb in a state or period of weakness, lack of vigour, or decline
Show More

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for ebbing

ebb

v.

Old English ebbian, from the root of ebb (n.). Related: Ebbed; ebbing.

Show More

ebb

n.

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with ebbing

ebb

In addition to the idioms beginning with ebb

also see:

Show More
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.