Definition of wade in English:


Line breaks: wade
Pronunciation: /weɪd


[no object, with adverbial]
  • 1Walk with effort through water or another liquid or viscous substance: he waded out to the boat
    More example sentences
    • There were children building sandcastles and surfers wading out into the water carrying their surf boards under their arms.
    • Is this why my great-uncle waded ashore at Gallipoli, and my father fought in the Middle East, and my uncle spent years as a POW?
    • I set off downstream, walking, wading and scrambling, trying to stay upright on the algae-covered rocks.
    paddle, wallow, dabble, slop, squelch, trudge, plod
    informal splosh
    ford, cross, traverse, walk across, make one's way across
  • 1.1 [with object] Walk through (something filled with water): I waded ditches instead of finding easier crossing places
    More example sentences
    • All the other competitors were paired up in boats, while I struggled against a howling head wind, wading the brackish water from the bank.
    • I waded the chilly waters of the Avon just above the point known as Ath na Fiann.
    • We wade the cold water, fishing for an hour in the driving rain.
  • 1.2 (wade through) Read laboriously through (a long piece of writing): they could just click it up on screen rather than have to wade through some hefty document
    More example sentences
    • However, I can resent having to wade through a piece only to come to the end and find nothing of value was said.
    • Who else would wade through every issue and still have the energy to read my column?
    • There are more than 1,500 scans of such documentation for you to wade through.
    work one's way, plough, plod, trawl, proceed with difficulty, labour, toil away at, plug away at; peruse, study; browse, leaf, flick, skim, look, thumb
    informal slog


[in singular] Back to top  
  • An act of wading.
    More example sentences
    • The cave is a respectable size but we didn't follow it far, since after 30m a wade degenerated into a full on swim.
    • The Bone Cave experience begins with an icy wade across the Duck River and part of the mouth of Bashaw Creek.
    • A short wade out to sea, the bottom plates, remnants of the ship's engines and boiler lie collapsed upon themselves.



(also wadeable) adjective
More example sentences
  • Incoming Tide dares to recreate a shoreline so wadeable that it's wacky to think it's really nothing more than sand and darkening waters in a glass pan.
  • This Mixed Waters IBI is only applicable to wadeable streams containing at least five native species.
  • Rapid bioassessment protocols for use in streams and wadeable rivers.


Old English wadan 'move onward', also 'penetrate', from a Germanic word meaning 'go (through)', from an Indo-European root shared by Latin vadere 'go'.

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