Definition of tide in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /tīd/


1The alternate rising and falling of the sea, usually twice in each lunar day at a particular place, due to the attraction of the moon and sun: the changing patterns of the tides they were driven on by wind and tide
More example sentences
  • But access to the port basin lay through channels where the tide fell 32 feet twice daily.
  • Sibyl glanced back at the rising and falling tides of the English Channel, and sighed with the grace of a heavy heart.
  • The highest high tides, called the semilunar tides, occur twice a month around the times of the full and new moon.
1.1The water as affected by this: the rising tide covered the wharf
More example sentences
  • The structure would be built over the water, allowing the tide to ebb and flow unhindered.
  • He related his own experience of how people can get caught out, unaware of the danger because it is the area nearest the shore that gets covered by water first as the tide comes in.
  • As the tide ebbs the sea water starts to drain from the river, making visible the runs and likely lies of fish just in from the Atlantic.
tidewater, ebb and flow, tidal flow
1.2A powerful surge of feeling or trend of events: he drifted into sleep on a tide of euphoria we must reverse the growing tide of racism sweeping the country
More example sentences
  • It was another bizarre sight but even the half-time whistle, once it finally came, did little to stem the tide of extraordinary events.
  • On both these occasions, though for very different reasons, the mourners and the mourned were swept together by a powerful tide of emotion.
  • He's a little man swept up in the tide of big events.
course, movement, direction, trend, current, drift, run, turn, tendency, tenor


[no object] archaic
1Drift with or as if with the tide.
1.1(Of a ship) float or drift in or out of a harbor by taking advantage of favoring tides.


turn the tide

Reverse the trend of events: the air power that helped to turn the tide of battle
More example sentences
  • It's a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle.
  • The opportunity to turn the tide of obesity and chronic disease begins by recognizing that we have created a perfect storm of obesity-causing factors.
  • As millions of toxic jellyfish lay siege to the beaches of the Mediterranean, coastal communities are battling to turn the tide.

Phrasal verbs

tide someone over

Help someone through a difficult period, especially with financial assistance: she needed a small loan to tide her over
More example sentences
  • This is to tide them over for a period, unless they get work.
  • To tide him over financially, he took a job with a radio station, and found that he had a natural flair for the microphone and he soon hosted his own show on Talk Radio.
  • In the meantime, Boyle also asked for another loan to tide him over.
sustain, keep someone going, keep someone afloat, keep someone's head above water, see someone through;
keep the wolf from the door;
help out, assist, aid



Pronunciation: /ˈtīdləs/
Example sentences
  • Like everything else in the picture, the water on which the barge floats is serene and unruffled, as in a tideless sea or lagoon.
  • In the Prime Minister's mental landscape Britain's economy is a tideless sea.
  • Many seas are tideless, and the waters of some are saline only in a very slight degree.


Old English tīd 'time, period, era', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tijd and German Zeit, also to time. The sense relating to the sea dates from late Middle English.

  • In Old English a tide was a period or season, a sense surviving in Eastertide and Shrovetide, and it was not used in connection with the sea until the later medieval period. The saying time and tide wait for no man originally referred just to time, with tide used as a repetition of the sense to add emphasis. Despite the great difference in their contemporary meanings, tidy (Middle English) is from tide. Right up to the early 18th century it meant ‘timely, seasonable, opportune’, and acquired its current sense via the uses ‘attractive, good-looking’ and ‘good, pleasing’ around 1700. Perhaps based on tidy is the verb titivate which in the early 19th century was also spelt tidivate.

Words that rhyme with tide

abide, applied, aside, astride, backslide, beside, bestride, betide, bide, bride, chide, Clyde, cockeyed, coincide, collide, confide, cried, decide, divide, dried, elide, five-a-side, glide, guide, hide, hollow-eyed, I'd, implied, lied, misguide, nationwide, nide, offside, onside, outride, outside, pan-fried, pied, pie-eyed, pitch-side, popeyed, pride, provide, ride, Said, shied, side, slide, sloe-eyed, snide, square-eyed, starry-eyed, statewide, Strathclyde, stride, subdivide, subside, tried, undyed, wall-eyed, wide, worldwide

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tide

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.