There are 2 main definitions of sea in English:

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sea 1

Pronunciation: /siː/


(often the sea)
1The expanse of salt water that covers most of the earth’s surface and surrounds its land masses: a ban on dumping radioactive wastes in the sea [as count noun]: the seas today swarm with crustacean arthropods
More example sentences
  • Sadly, the most easily-attainable sources for iodine are iodized salt and sea products, both of which can be taboo for pregnant women.
  • For Rachel, the vastness of the sea brings comfort and reassurance - it's a constant, she says, in a constantly changing world, and its great expanse puts our problems into perspective.
  • On Tybee Island, it was estimated that 43.82 acres of land would be lost to the sea.
informal the drink
British informal the briny
North American informal salt chuck
literary the deep, the main, the foam
New Zealand rare moana
marine, ocean, oceanic;
salt, saltwater, seawater, watery, pelagic;
rare thalassic, pelagian
1.1 [often in place names] A roughly definable area of the sea: the Black Sea
More example sentences
  • The White Sea is an inlet of the Barents Sea on the northwest coast of Russia.
  • Population genetic structures of the mackerel (Scomber scombrus) and chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) were studied in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The goal of Save the North Sea project has been to reduce marine litter in the North Sea by changing the attitudes and behaviour of the people using the area.
1.2 (seas) Large waves: the lifeboat met seas of thirty-five feet head-on
More example sentences
  • At 6:30 the next morning, the seas were finally calm, and we pulled into the port of New York.
  • Two Plexiglas dioramas of a boat on storm-tossed seas depicted Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated South Pole expedition of 1914.
  • The artist's rising seas appear to be made of metal, stone, earth and glass, as well as water.
wave, breaker, roller, comber, billow;
Australian  bombora
informal boomer
North American informal kahuna
(seas) swell, white horses, white caps
1.3 [count noun] A vast expanse or quantity of something: she scanned the sea of faces for Stephen
More example sentences
  • From freezers and hardening tunnels to compressors, evaporators and air handling units, a sea of chilling and freezing equipment is available to the dairy industry.
  • We appreciate the flavorful food, recognizing in the candlelight the small, spicy leaves we snipped from a sea of greens that bright morning.
  • Others will find a healthful haven among a sea of fortified yogurts and dairy beverages.
expanse, stretch, span, area, tract, sweep, blanket, sheet, carpet, mass;
multitude, host, profusion, abundance, plethora



at sea

Sailing on the sea: he spends long hours at sea on a small catamaran
More example sentences
  • ‘Over time, the images evolved from ships in port to more elaborate ships at sea,’ said Freeman.
  • ‘Our goal is to provide the safest, highest quality U.S.-produced dairy products to our troops anywhere, ground troops or ships at sea,’ he says.
  • More explicitly, the building is an event on the horizon, like a ship at sea, with its assemblage of long white volumes rising out of a dense dark base clad in strips of charcoal-coloured slate.
(also all at sea)1.1 Confused or unable to decide what to do: he feels at sea with economics
More example sentences
  • Rather you want to throw out a lifeline to the subjects, who are clearly confused and all at sea.
  • As though that were not bad enough, we are now being told that our investment policy, which is momentous to any purposeful economic development, is all at sea.
  • While Kerry were solid enough at the back, they were all at sea at midfield, while they never threatened down the wings and this was the most disappointing aspect of all.
Canadian & Australian/New Zealand informal bushed

by sea

By means of a ship or ships: other army units were sent by sea
More example sentences
  • And so we went by sea to Lowestoft.
  • Overseas visitors who arrived by sea had different characteristics than overseas visitors who arrived by air.
  • Londoners had been heating their houses with coal since the seventeenth century and this came by sea until the mid-nineteenth century, when the railways took over this trade.

go to sea

Set out on a voyage: the fishermen were unable to go to sea in such storms
More example sentences
  • ‘The problem has been, when a ship goes to sea, the crew left behind doesn't have a platform to train on,’ said the Information Systems leading chief petty officer.
  • Despite going to sea on a boat with no windows, no fantail, no helipad or even a hatch to allow in some tension-breaking fresh salt air, submariners are still Sailors at heart.
  • This meets the need for a consistent, repeatable and auditable process to assess the ship's material state before it goes to sea.
3.1Become a sailor in a navy or a merchant navy: Garret left the small family farm in his late teens and went to sea
More example sentences
  • And sailors going to sea would take a hot cross bun with them to guard against sickness
  • She plans to take over parenting responsibility for her daughter while her husband, who has been working ashore, goes to sea next year.
  • To have a Warrant as opposed to a Commission, as NAM Rodgers tells us, derives from the military and governing classes going to sea and therefore symbolised both a social and professional difference.

on the sea

Situated on the coast.
Example sentences
  • Today I was able to sleep in, and after lunch, I borrowed Bin's car and drove to Narbonne, a town on the sea.
  • Unless we can find a place on the sea, that takes pets, for the same price, we won't be moving.
  • Tulum was not a city but rather an outpost on the sea - it may have been a temple, and some suggest it also may have been an ancient lighthouse.

put (out) to sea

Leave land on a voyage: the Alabama put to sea the next morning
More example sentences
  • None of the planned projects is offshore, however, although in Europe, where suitable land is scarce, more and more projects are putting out to sea.
  • He puts to sea again and lands at Mytilene, where through Lysimachus and to his intense joy Pericles discovers his daughter.
  • I joined her in Kalkan for a cruise to Olympos, putting out to sea on a glorious October morning, the sun scorching hot on the scrubbed wooden deck and the water as blue as a kingfisher's back.


Old English , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zee and German See.

  • An Old English word, related to Dutch zee and German See. A person who is at sea or all at sea is confused or unable to decide what to do—they are being likened to a ship out of the sight of land which has lost its bearings. The term sea change for a profound or notable transformation comes from the song ‘Full fathom five’ in Shakespeare's The Tempest: ‘Nothing of him that doth fade, / But doth suffer a sea change / Into something rich and strange.’

Words that rhyme with sea

absentee, açai, addressee, adoptee, agree, allottee, amputee, appellee, appointee, appraisee, après-ski, assignee, asylee, attendee, bailee, bain-marie, Bangui, bargee, bawbee, be, Bea, bee, bootee, bouquet garni, bourgeoisie, Brie, BSc, buckshee, Capri, cc, chimpanzee, cohabitee, conferee, consignee, consultee, Cree, debauchee, decree, dedicatee, Dee, degree, deportee, dernier cri, detainee, devisee, devotee, divorcee, draftee, dree, Dundee, dungaree, eau-de-vie, emcee, employee, endorsee, en famille, ennui, enrollee, escapee, esprit, evacuee, examinee, expellee, fee, fiddle-de-dee, flea, flee, fleur-de-lis, foresee, franchisee, free, fusee (US fuzee), Gardaí, garnishee, gee, ghee, glee, goatee, grandee, Grand Prix, grantee, Guarani, guarantee, he, HMRC, indictee, inductee, internee, interviewee, invitee, jamboree, Jaycee, jeu d'esprit, key, knee, Lea, lee, legatee, Leigh, lessee, Ley, licensee, loanee, lychee, manatee, Manichee, maquis, Marie, marquee, me, Midi, mortgagee, MSc, nominee, obligee, Otomi, parolee, Parsee, parti pris, patentee, Pawnee, payee, pea, pee, permittee, plc, plea, pledgee, pollee, presentee, promisee, quay, ratatouille, referee, refugee, releasee, repartee, retiree, returnee, rupee, scot-free, scree, secondee, see, settee, Shanxi, Shawnee, shchi, she, shea, si, sirree, ski, spree, standee, suttee, tant pis, tea, tee, tee-hee, Tennessee, testee, the, thee, three, thuggee, Tiree, Torquay, trainee, Tralee, transferee, tree, Trincomalee, trustee, tutee, twee, Twi, undersea, vestee, vis-à-vis, wagon-lit, Waikiki, warrantee, we, wee, whee, whoopee, ye, yippee, Zuider Zee

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Line breaks: sea

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There are 2 main definitions of sea in English:

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For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: SEA

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