Origin of riptide

First recorded in 1860–65; rip2 + tide1

Synonyms for riptide Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for rip-tide


  1. Also called: rip, tide-rip a stretch of turbulent water in the sea, caused by the meeting of currents or abrupt changes in depth
  2. Also called: rip current a strong current, esp one flowing outwards from the shore, causing disturbance on the surface
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 rip-tide

also riptide, 1862, from rip (n.1) + tide (n.). It is a current not a tide, and the attempt to correct it to rip current dates from 1936.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper