See also: -ebb



From Middle English ebbe, from Old English ebba (ebb, tide), from Proto-Germanic *abjô, *abjǭ (compare West Frisian ebbe, Dutch eb, German Ebbe, Danish ebbe, Old Norse efja (countercurrent)), from Proto-Germanic *ab (off, away), from Proto-Indo-European *apó. (compare Old English af). More at of, off.


  • enPR: ĕb, IPA(key): /ɛb/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛb


ebb (plural ebbs)

  1. The receding movement of the tide.
    The boats will go out on the ebb.
    • 1824, Mary Shelley, Time
      Thou shoreless flood which in thy ebb and flow / Claspest the limits of morality!
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide
      Men come from distant parts to admire the tides of Solway, which race in at flood and retreat at ebb with a greater speed than a horse can follow.
  2. A gradual decline.
    • 1684, Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon, Essay on Translated Verse
      Thus all the treasure of our flowing years, / Our ebb of life for ever takes away.
    • 1826, Mary Shelley, The Last Man
      This reflection thawed my congealing blood, and again the tide of life and love flowed impetuously onward, again to ebb as my busy thoughts changed.
  3. (especially in the phrase 'at a low ebb') A low state; a state of depression.
    • 1695, John Dryden, transl., Observations on the Art of Painting by Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy:
      Painting was then at its lowest ebb.
    • 2002, Joyce Carol Oates, The New Yorker, 22 & 29 April
      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.
    • 2020 July 29, Dr Joseph Brennan, “Railways that reach out over the waves”, in Rail, page 51:
      The 1987 book British Piers was written at a time when Britain's seaside resorts were perhaps at their lowest ebb, with a groundswell of support for rejuvenation and conservation just beginning.
  4. A European bunting, the corn bunting (Emberiza calandra, syns. Emberiza miliaria, Milaria calandra).


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



ebb (third-person singular simple present ebbs, present participle ebbing, simple past and past participle ebbed)

  1. (intransitive) to flow back or recede
    The tides ebbed at noon.
  2. (intransitive) to fall away or decline
    The dying man's strength ebbed away.
  3. (intransitive) to fish with stakes and nets that serve to prevent the fish from getting back into the sea with the ebb
  4. (transitive) To cause to flow back.


ebb away, ebb down, ebb off, ebb out, reflux, wane



ebb (comparative ebber, superlative ebbest)

  1. low, shallow




ebb c

  1. ebb; low tide
    Antonyms: flod, högvatten
    Synonym: lågvatten


Declension of ebb 
Indefinite Definite
Nominative ebb ebben
Genitive ebbs ebbens