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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 of ebb
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ebbing
  • And day by day, the radioactive decay in the reactor cores is ebbing.
  • The creature is dying, its color fading, its electricity ebbing.
  • He is eighty-seven years old and time is ebbing away.
  • Must trust their oars, methinks not few, against the ebbing tide.
  • In the quest for oil-free power, a handful of small companies are staking claims on the energy of the rising and ebbing sea.
  • There are a few welcome signs that the government's panicky, everything-is-a-potential-threat mood is ebbing.
  • For her there was nothing but bland nutritional liquids to sustain her ebbing life.
  • Those anxious that the rich world's economic power is ebbing might welcome a few emerging-market slip-ups.
  • But much of it, he believes, is due to an ebbing of the panic that sent investors rushing to buy government debt last year.
  • And, with his power ebbing, he faces a mountain of problems at home and abroad.
British Dictionary definitions for ebbing

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 ebbing

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 ebbing

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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11
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