What does ebb mean?

Definitions for ebb

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word ebb.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ebb, ebbing, wanenoun

    a gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number)

  2. ebb, refluxverb

    the outward flow of the tide

  3. ebb, ebb away, ebb down, ebb out, ebb offverb

    flow back or recede

    "the tides ebbed at noon"

  4. ebbverb

    hem in fish with stakes and nets so as to prevent them from going back into the sea with the ebb

  5. ebbverb

    fall away or decline

    "The patient's strength ebbed away"


  1. ebbnoun

    The receding movement of the tide.

  2. ebbnoun

    A gradual decline

  3. ebbnoun

    low state, state of depression

  4. ebbnoun

    The European bunting

  5. ebbverb

    to flow back or recede

    The tides ebbed at noon.

  6. ebbverb

    to fall away or decline

    The dying man's strength ebbed away.

  7. ebbverb

    to fish with stakes and nets that serve to prevent the fish from getting back into the sea with the ebb

  8. ebbadjective

    low, shallow

    The water there is otherwise very low and ebb. (Holland)

  9. Etymology: ebba, from abjōn (compare West Frisian ebbe, Dutch eb, German Ebbe, Old Norse efja ‘countercurrent’), from ab (compare Old English af). More at of, off.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. EBBnoun

    Etymology: ebba, ewflod, Saxon; ebbe, Dutch.

    The clear sun on his wide wat’ry glass
    Gaz’d hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
    As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink
    From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
    With soft foot tow’rds the deep. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    Hither the seas at stated times resort,
    And shove the loaden vessels into port;
    Then with a gentle ebb retire again,
    And render back their cargo to the main. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    You have finished all the war, and brought all things to that low ebb which you speak of. Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.

    This tide of man’s life, after it once turneth and declineth, ever runneth with a perpetual ebb and falling stream, but never floweth again. Walter Raleigh, History of the World.

    Thus all the treasure of our flowing years,
    Our ebb of life for ever takes away. Wentworth Dillon.

    The greatest age for poetry was that of Augustus Cæsar, yet painting was then at its lowest ebb, and perhaps sculpture was also declining. John Dryden, Dufresnoy, Preface.

    Near my apartment let him pris’ner be,
    That I his hourly ebbs of life may see. John Dryden, Aurengzebe.

    What is it he aspires to?
    Is it not this? To shed the slow remains,
    His last poor ebb of blood in your defence? Joseph Addison, Cato.

  2. To Ebbverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Though my tide of blood
    Hath proudly flow’d in vanity ’till now,
    Now it doth turn and ebb back to the sea. William Shakespeare, Hen. IV.

    From thence the tide of fortune left their shore,
    And ebb’d much faster than it flow’d before. John Dryden, Æn.

    Well, I am standing water:
    ———— I’ll teach you how to flow.
    ———— Do so: to ebb
    Hereditary sloth instructs me. William Shakespeare, Tempest.

    But oh he ebbs! the smiling waves decay!
    For ever, lovely stream, for ever stay! Charles Montagu.


  1. ebb

    Ebb refers to a gradual decline or reduction in something; it can also refer to the movement of the tide as it recedes back into the sea. It generally signifies a lessening, weakening, or low point in a cyclical process.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ebbnoun

    the European bunting

  2. Ebbnoun

    the reflux or flowing back of the tide; the return of the tidal wave toward the sea; -- opposed to flood; as, the boats will go out on the ebb

  3. Ebbnoun

    the state or time of passing away; a falling from a better to a worse state; low state or condition; decline; decay

  4. Ebbverb

    to flow back; to return, as the water of a tide toward the ocean; -- opposed to flow

  5. Ebbverb

    to return or fall back from a better to a worse state; to decline; to decay; to recede

  6. Ebbverb

    to cause to flow back

  7. Ebbadjective

    receding; going out; falling; shallow; low

  8. Etymology: [AS. ebba; akin to Fries. ebba, D. eb, ebbe, Dan. & G. ebbe, Sw. ebb, cf. Goth. ibuks backward; prob. akin to E. even.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ebb

    eb, n. the going back or retiring of the tide: a decline or decay.—v.i. to flow back: to sink: to decay.—n. Ebb′-tide, the ebbing or retiring tide. [A.S. ebba; Ger. ebbe; cog. with even.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. ebb

    The lineal descendant of the Anglo-Saxon ep-flod, meaning the falling reflux of the tide, or its return back from the highest of the flood, full sea, or high water. Also termed sæ-æbbung, sea-ebbing, by our progenitors.

Suggested Resources

  1. ebb

    Song lyrics by ebb -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by ebb on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. EBB

    What does EBB stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the EBB acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. EBB

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Ebb is ranked #96368 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Ebb surname appeared 189 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Ebb.

    57.1% or 108 total occurrences were Black.
    38.1% or 72 total occurrences were White.
    2.6% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce ebb?

How to say ebb in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ebb in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ebb in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of ebb in a Sentence

  1. Mitch McConnell:

    Every place we visited, American prestige is certainly at a low ebb, and there's a great deal of concern about the Russians raising their profile.

  2. William Butler Yeats:

    You shall go with me, newly-married bride,And gaze upon a merrier multitude.White-armed Nuala, Aengus of the Birds,Feachra of the hurtling form, and himWho is the ruler of the Western Host,Finvara, and their Land of Heart's Desire.Where beauty has no ebb, decay no flood,But joy is wisdom, time an endless song.

  3. Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu:

    If this moment is going to be sustained, it will be sustained by artists of the global majority producing their own work, because any time a non-White artist is left to the mercy and morality of a White audience, White producer or White money, then that interest and that level of vulnerability and that level of focus is going to... ebb and flow.

  4. Kira Wampler:

    Sometimes it is going to ebb and flow in different ways, and sometimes you are going to flow very heavily around work, because you are getting ready to relaunch the brand and try to hit these huge milestones for a startup within two months of joining, and other times, it is end of the school year and there is the recital and the school play and da-da-da and those things are important, too.

  5. Andrew Pearce:

    If you can imagine being physically and mentally exhausted going through a rescue and having to deal with that, when you're at your lowest ebb, you've given it all and then you find out the sad news about your father, who's your best mate -- that's really, really tough.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for ebb

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"ebb." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 16 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ebb>.

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    cause to spread or flush or flood through, over, or across
    A suffuse
    B abet
    C knead
    D flub

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