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See more synonyms for sea on Thesaurus.com
  1. the salt waters that cover the greater part of the earth's surface.
  2. a division of these waters, of considerable extent, more or less definitely marked off by land boundaries: the North Sea.
  3. one of the seven seas; ocean.
  4. a large lake or landlocked body of water.
  5. the degree or amount of turbulence of the ocean or other body of water, as caused by the wind.
  6. the waves.
  7. a large wave: The heavy seas almost drowned us.
  8. a widely extended, copious, or overwhelming quantity: a sea of faces; a sea of troubles.
  9. the work, travel, and shipboard life of a sailor: The sea is a hard life but a rewarding one.
  10. Astronomy. mare3.
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  1. of, relating to, or adapted for use at sea.
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  1. at sea,
    1. on the ocean.
    2. perplexed; uncertain: completely at sea as to how to answer the question.
    Also asea.
  2. follow the sea, to pursue a nautical career: Many boys then dreamed of following the sea.
  3. go to sea,
    1. to set out on a voyage.
    2. to embark on a nautical career.
  4. half seas over, Slang. partly or completely drunk: They came home at dawn, looking half seas over.Also half-seas over.
  5. put to sea, to embark on a sea voyage: The expedition is nearly ready to put to sea.Also put out to sea.
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Origin of sea

before 900; Middle English see, Old English sǣ; cognate with Dutch zee, German See, Old Norse sær sea, Gothic saiws marsh

Synonyms for sea

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sea

surf, pond, expanse, lake, ocean, blue, abundance, profusion, sheet, plethora, brine, swell, drink, number, deep, briny, splash, main, multitude, waves

Examples from the Web for sea

Contemporary Examples of sea

Historical Examples of sea

  • It seemed like one risen from the dead, for he supposed him lying at the bottom of the sea.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Then they launched the ship's boat, in which Bates had come to the island, and put out to sea.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • The two bent their steps to the shore, and looked out to sea.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Had the dead come back from the bottom of the sea to expose him?

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He, too, plunged into the sea, and Bunsby and the captain were left alone.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

British Dictionary definitions for sea


    1. the seathe mass of salt water on the earth's surface as differentiated from the landRelated adjectives: marine, maritime, thalassic
    2. (as modifier)sea air
  1. (capital when part of place name)
    1. one of the smaller areas of oceanthe Irish Sea
    2. a large inland area of waterthe Caspian Sea
  2. turbulence or swell, esp of considerable sizeheavy seas
  3. (capital when part of a name) astronomy any of many huge dry plains on the surface of the moonSee also mare 2
  4. anything resembling the sea in size or apparent limitlessness
  5. the life or career of a sailor (esp in the phrase follow the sea)
  6. at sea
    1. on the ocean
    2. in a state of confusion
  7. go to sea to become a sailor
  8. put to sea or put out to sea to embark on a sea voyage
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Word Origin for sea

Old English sǣ; related to Old Norse sǣr, Old Frisian sē, Gothic saiws, Old High German sēo
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 sea


Old English "sheet of water, sea, lake, pool," from Proto-Germanic *saiwaz (cf. Old Saxon seo, Old Frisian se, Middle Dutch see, Swedish sjö), of unknown origin, outside connections "wholly doubtful" [Buck]. Meaning "large quantity" (of anything) is from c.1200. Meaning "dark area of the moon's surface" is attested from 1660s (see mare (n.2)).

Germanic languages also use the general Indo-European word (represented by English mere (n.)), but have no firm distinction between "sea" and "lake," either by size, by inland or open, or by salt vs. fresh. This may reflect the Baltic geography where the languages are thought to have originated. The two words are used more or less interchangeably in Germanic, and exist in opposite senses (e.g. Gothic saiws "lake," marei "sea;" but Dutch zee "sea," meer "lake"). Cf. also Old Norse sær "sea," but Danish , usually "lake" but "sea" in phrases. German See is "sea" (fem.) or "lake" (masc.). The single Old English word glosses Latin mare, aequor, pontus, pelagus, and marmor.

Phrase sea change "transformation" is attested from 1610, first in Shakespeare ("The Tempest," I.ii). Sea anemone is from 1742; sea legs is from 1712; sea level from 1806; sea urchin from 1590s. At sea in the figurative sense of "perplexed" is attested from 1768, from literal sense of "out of sight of land" (c.1300).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sea in Science


  1. The continuous body of salt water that covers most of the Earth's surface.
  2. A region of water within an ocean and partly enclosed by land, such as the North Sea. See Note at ocean.
  3. A large body of either fresh or salt water that is completely enclosed by land, such as the Caspian Sea.
  4. Astronomy A mare.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with sea


In addition to the idiom beginning with sea

  • sea legs
  • seal of approval
  • seal off
  • seal one's fate

also see:

  • at sea
  • between a rock and a hard place (devil and the deep blue sea)
  • high seas
  • not the only fish in the sea
  • put out (to sea)
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.