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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 ebbs
  • The ocean, of course, no longer ebbs and flows along this boundary.
  • Shared governance is a negotiated process with significant ebbs and flows.
  • The time has come to set out in detail what must be done to restore the public finances as soon as recession ebbs.
  • Look through the evidence of geologic history and note the ebbs and flow of climate and sea level rise and falls.
  • Since many species are migratory, the total number of birds ebbs and flows with the season.
  • Life isn't fair, and neither are the ebbs and flows of architectural celebrity.
  • But if the acting captures their emotional ebbs and flows, the screenplay has discrepancies and lapses that can't be acted around.
  • Even as the threat of nuclear war ebbs, the risk of accidents and unauthorized launches deserves constant attention.
  • Congestion on the highway ebbs and flows and the variable speed limit signs reflect that fluctuation.
  • The tide ebbs and flows twice in each lunar day, or the space of a little more than twenty-four hours.
British Dictionary definitions for ebbs

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 ebbs

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 ebbs

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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8
10
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