From Middle English ebbe, from Old English ebba (“ebb, tide”), from Proto-Germanic *abjô, *abjōn (compare West Frisian ebbe, Dutch eb, German Ebbe, Old Norse efja (“countercurrent”), from Proto-Germanic *ab (“off, away”), from Proto-Indo-European *apó. (compare Old English af). More at of, off.
ebb (plural ebbs)
- The receding movement of the tide.
- The boats will go out on the ebb.
- Thou shoreless flood which in thy ebb and flow / Claspest the limits of morality!
- A gradual decline.
- Thus all the treasure of our flowing years, / Our ebb of life for ever takes away.
- A low state; a state of depression.
- Painting was then at its lowest ebb.
- The European bunting.
low state, state of depression
- 2002, A "lowest ebb" implies something singular and finite, but for many of us, born in the Depression and raised by parents distrustful of fortune, an "ebb" might easily have lasted for years. — Joyce Carol Oates, The New Yorker, 22 & 29 Apr 2002
- to flow back or recede
- The tides ebbed at noon.
- to fall away or decline
- The dying man's strength ebbed away.
- to fish with stakes and nets that serve to prevent the fish from getting back into the sea with the ebb
- (transitive) To cause to flow back.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Ford to this entry?)