[ eb ]
/ ɛb /
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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.
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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 ebbun·ebbed, adjectiveun·ebb·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use ebb in a sentence
“I wanted to show the kind of marriage that has its ebbs and flows,” Quindlen said.Anna Quindlen on Staying Happily Married|Hannah Seligson|April 29, 2010|DAILY BEAST
The enterprise of Islam underwent several ebbs and flows over this region.
"Better leave her until th' tide ebbs," said one, but the rest were not of the same mind.One Day At Arle|Frances Hodgson Burnett
There is something in the tropical air that calls to the passion of a man, and reduces his sense of law till restraint ebbs away.The Pirate of Panama|William MacLeod Raine
At Eastbourne, for example, the water flows for about five hours, and ebbs for about seven and a half.The Sea Shore|William S. Furneaux
However, as after the wildest storm the sea ebbs in ripples so even this tempest came to a more peaceful conclusion.The Bride of the Nile, Complete|Georg Ebers
British Dictionary definitions for ebb
/ (ɛb) /
(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 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
Other Idioms and Phrases with ebb
In addition to the idioms beginning with ebb
- ebb and flow
- 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.