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  1. designating tides midway between spring tides that attain the least height.
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  1. neap tide.
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Origin of neap1

before 900; Middle English neep, Old English nēp-, in nēpflōd neap tide


noun New England.
  1. the pole or tongue of a cart, wagon, etc., drawn by two animals side by side.
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Origin of neap2

1545–55 origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for neap

Historical Examples

  • So we have spring tides regularly once a fortnight, with neap tides in between.

    Pioneers of Science

    Oliver Lodge

  • The spring tides occur at the syzygies: the neap tides at the quadratures.

    Letters on Astronomy

    Denison Olmsted

  • A ship grounding in a very low tide (neap) is still said to be neaped.

    The Bruce

    John Barbour

  • Height of neap and spring tides, at full and change of the moon.

  • The spring tide is lunar plus solar; the neap tide is lunar minus solar.

British Dictionary definitions for neap


  1. of, relating to, or constituting a neap tide
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  1. short for neap tide
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Word Origin

Old English, as in nēpflōd neap tide, of uncertain origin
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 neap


Middle English, from Old English nepflod "neap flood," the tide occurring at the end of the first and third quarters of the lunar month, in which high waters are at their lowest, of unknown origin, with no known cognates (Danish niptid probably is from English). Original sense perhaps is "without power." As a noun from 1580s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper