follow Dictionary.com

8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary

tidal wave

noun
1.
(not in technical use) a large, destructive ocean wave, produced by a seaquake, hurricane, or strong wind.
Compare tsunami.
2.
either of the two great wavelike swellings of the ocean surface that move around the earth on opposite sides and give rise to tide, caused by the attraction of the moon and sun.
3.
any widespread or powerful movement, opinion, or tendency:
a tidal wave of public indignation.
Origin
1820-1830
1820-30
Can be confused
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for tidal waves

tidal wave

noun
1.
a name (not accepted in technical usage) for tsunami
2.
an unusually large incoming wave, often caused by high winds and spring tides
3.
a forceful and widespread movement in public opinion, action, etc
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
Cite This Source
tidal waves in Science
tidal wave  
  1. Either of the two swells or crests of surface ocean water created by the gravitational effects of the Moon and Sun and circling the globe on opposite sides to create the daily periods of high and low tides. Also called tidal bulge.

  2. An unusual rise in the level of water along a seacoast, as from a storm or a combination of wind and tide. Also called storm surge.

  3. A tsunami.


Our Living Language  : The term tidal wave is used in everyday speech to refer to a gigantic and enormously destructive wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption—what scientists would properly call a tsunami. When scientists use the word tidal wave, they normally are referring to an unusually large wave or bulge of water that sometimes occurs around a high tide. These tidal waves are certainly big and powerful, but they are tiny in comparison with tsunamis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for tidal wave

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for tidal

6
7
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for tidal waves