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ebb

[eb] /ɛb/
noun
1.
the flowing back of the tide as the water returns to the sea (opposed to flood, flow).
2.
a flowing backward or away; decline or decay:
the ebb of a once great nation.
3.
a point of decline:
His fortunes were at a low ebb.
verb (used without object)
4.
to flow back or away, as the water of a tide (opposed to flow).
5.
to decline or decay; fade away:
His life is gradually ebbing.
Origin
1000
before 1000; (noun) Middle English eb(be), Old English ebba; cognate with Old Frisian ebba, Dutch eb(be), German Ebbe ebb, Old Norse efja place where water backs up; (v.) Middle English ebben, Old English ebbian, derivative of the noun; akin to off
Related forms
unebbed, adjective
unebbing, adjective
Synonyms
4. subside, abate, recede, retire. 5. dwindle, diminish, decrease.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ebb
  • The ebb and flow of batlle will call for flexability .
  • As the upward thrust contains the city's energy, the outward ebb releases it.
  • With evolving Web expertise and the ebb and flow in site visitors, shopping online hasn't always been easy.
  • No doubt moods and attitudes will fluctuate with the ebb and flow of economic (mis)fortunes.
  • The wave will crash and the tide will ebb and then recede.
  • He has also seen the prowess of his main political nemesis ebb in recent months.
  • Long ago they devised water-mills driven by the currents of the flood and the ebb.
  • With attendance on the ebb, adding a dimension adds cost.
  • Tidal flood current velocities are positive and ebb current velocities are negative.
  • But the basic forces driving migration are unlikely to ebb.
British Dictionary definitions for ebb

ebb

/ɛb/
verb (intransitive)
1.
(of tide water) to flow back or recede Compare flow (sense 9)
2.
to fall away or decline
noun
3.
  1. the flowing back of the tide from high to low water or the period in which this takes place
  2. (as modifier): the ebb tide Compare flood (sense 3)
4.
at a low ebb, in a state or period of weakness, lack of vigour, or decline
Word Origin
Old English ebba; related to Old Norse efja river bend, Gothic ibuks moving backwards, Old High German ippihōn to roll backwards, Middle Dutch ebbe ebb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ebb
n.

Old English ebba "ebb, low tide," perhaps from Proto-Germanic *abjon (cf. Old Frisian ebba, Old Saxon ebbiunga, Middle Dutch ebbe, Dutch eb, German Ebbe), from *ab-, from PIE root *apo- "off, away" (see apo-). Figurative sense of "decline, decay" is c.1400.

v.

Old English ebbian, from the root of ebb (n.). Related: Ebbed; ebbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with ebb

ebb

In addition to the idioms beginning with ebb ebb and flow also see: at a low ebb
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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7
9
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