from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The periodic variation in the surface level of the oceans and of bays, gulfs, inlets, and estuaries, caused by gravitational attraction of the moon and sun.
  • n. A specific occurrence of such a variation: awaiting the next high tide.
  • n. Flood tide.
  • n. Tidal force.
  • n. Something that fluctuates like the waters of the tide: a rising tide of discontent. See Synonyms at flow.
  • n. A time or season. Often used in combination: eventide; Christmastide; Shrovetide.
  • n. A favorable occasion; an opportunity.
  • intransitive v. To rise and fall like the tide.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To drift or ride with the tide: tided off the reef; tiding up the Hudson.
  • transitive v. To carry along with or as if with the tide.
  • tide over To support through a difficult period: I asked for $100 to tide me over till payday.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To betide; befall.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The periodic change of the sea level, particularly when caused by the gravitational influence of the sun and the moon.
  • n. A stream, current or flood.
  • n. Time, notably anniversary, period or season linked to an ecclesiastical feast.
  • n. The period of twelve hours.
  • n. Something which changes like the tides of the sea.
  • n. Tendency or direction of causes, influences, or events; course; current.
  • n. Violent confluence — Francis Bacon
  • v. To cause to float with the tide; to drive or carry with the tide or stream.
  • v. To pour a tide or flood.
  • v. To work into or out of a river or harbor by drifting with the tide and anchoring when it becomes adverse.
  • v. To happen, occur.
  • v. What should us tide of this new law? — Chaucer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Time; period; season.
  • n. The alternate rising and falling of the waters of the ocean, and of bays, rivers, etc., connected therewith. The tide ebbs and flows twice in each lunar day, or the space of a little more than twenty-four hours. It is occasioned by the attraction of the sun and moon (the influence of the latter being three times that of the former), acting unequally on the waters in different parts of the earth, thus disturbing their equilibrium. A high tide upon one side of the earth is accompanied by a high tide upon the opposite side. Hence, when the sun and moon are in conjunction or opposition, as at new moon and full moon, their action is such as to produce a greater than the usual tide, called the spring tide, as represented in the cut. When the moon is in the first or third quarter, the sun's attraction in part counteracts the effect of the moon's attraction, thus producing under the moon a smaller tide than usual, called the neap tide.
  • n. A stream; current; flood.
  • n. Tendency or direction of causes, influences, or events; course; current.
  • n. Violent confluence.
  • n. The period of twelve hours.
  • intransitive v. To betide; to happen.
  • intransitive v. To pour a tide or flood.
  • intransitive v. To work into or out of a river or harbor by drifting with the tide and anchoring when it becomes adverse.
  • transitive v. To cause to float with the tide; to drive or carry with the tide or stream.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To happen; betide.
  • To drift with the tide; specifically (nautical), to work in or out of a harbor, etc., by taking advantage of the tide and anchoring when it becomes adverse.
  • To drive with the tide or current.
  • To carry through; manage.
  • To succeed in surmounting: with over: as, to tide over a difficulty.
  • An obsolete preterit of tie.
  • An erroneous Middle English form of tidy.
  • n. In forestry, a freshet. In the Appalachian region logs are rolled into a stream and a ‘tide’ is awaited to carry them to the boom.
  • n. Time; season.
  • n. Fit time or season; opportunity.
  • n. Eccles., a season of the church year; in a narrower sense, a feast-day; a festival: as, Whitsuntide (the whole octave or the day only); Hallowtide.
  • n. Mass; office; service.
  • n. A definite period of time; specifically, a day or an hour; in mining, the period of twelve hours.
  • n. The periodical rise and fall of the waters of the ocean and its arms, due to the attraction of the moon and sun.
  • n. and the same where the moon is in the nadir is
  • n. But where the particle as seen from the center of the earth is 90° from the moon, the attraction is a little less than the attraction at the center, being m/(r+ a) in place of m/r, and is also not parallel to the latter; so that it is accelerated downward toward the earth by an amount equal to Compounding these accelerations with the accelerations of the weights of the particles, we see that the resultant for any particle points less toward the moon than the line from the particle to the earth's center. But the surface of the water must be perpendicular to the resultant attraction; hence that surface must bulge out in a prolate form on the line through the centers of the moon and earth. The extreme difference in depth of the water would be about 20 inches, or, substituting the sun for the moon, it would be about 9 inches. If after the prolate form had been produced the disturbing body were to be suddenly annihilated, the ocean, supposing it covered the whole earth, would be thrown into a state of oscillation between a prolate and an oblate form. The time of the oscillations would depend on the depth of the water, and they would gradually die out from viscosity and other resistances. If the moon were to move round the water-covered earth on the equator, similar free oscillations would be set up and would gradually die out, but at the same time other motions would be forced and would not die out. Supposing first, for the sake of simplicity, that the effects of viscosity were very great, the water would be permanently raised all round the equator so as to increase the ellipticity of the surface of the sea, and such an effect, on a minute scale, is in fact produced. But, besides that, the equatorial section of the form of the water would be elliptical, the water continuing to pile up as long as it was at all drawn toward the moon; so that high tide would not be reached until 4 hours 45 minutes after the moon had crossed the meridian. If the resistance is not so great the time of high tide will be earlier or later, according as the natural oscillations are quicker or slower than the forced motion. The resistance will also produce small component oscillations of periods one half and one third of those of the principal oscillations. Every inequality in the motion of the sun and moon produces its own distinct component tide; but the magnitudes of the tides are very different from the magnitudes of the inequalities. The forms of the continents and of the sea-bottom affect the range of the tides in two ways. In the first, place, they form basins in which the waters are susceptible of free stationary oscillations of various periods. Now, it is a known theorem of dynamics that forced vibrations attain large amplitudes when their periods are nearly the same as those of free vibrations, but are very small when their periods are nearly double those of free vibrations. In the second place, the continents in many cases force the ocean into canals, in which the tides take the form of progressive waves of translation, which will be greatly increased by a narrowing and still more by a shoaling of the channel in the direction of their progression. In this case there are distinct cotidal lines. In the North Atlantic the semidiurnal tide is large, but much larger in the eastern and northern parts than on the southern and western sides. The diurnal tides, on the other hand, are remarkably small. High tide occurs in the northern parts three or four hours earlier than in the southern; and between them, about Nantucket, there is little tide, and in many places four tides a day. In the Gulf of Mexico the semidiurnal tides are very small, and the diurnal tides are alone sensible. In a few places, as Tahiti, in the Pacific, and Courtown, in county Wexford, Ireland, the lunar tides almost disappear, so that high tide never occurs many hours from noon or midnight, and near such places there are others where the tides almost altogether vanish.
  • n. Ebb and flow; rise and fall; flux and reflux.
  • n. Flow; current; stream; flood; torrent.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. rise or move forward
  • v. cause to float with the tide
  • n. there are usually two high and two low tides each day
  • n. something that may increase or decrease (like the tides of the sea)
  • v. be carried with the tide
  • n. the periodic rise and fall of the sea level under the gravitational pull of the moon


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English tīd, division of time; see dā- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English tiden, from Old English tīdan; see dā- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tide, from Old English tīd ("time, period, season, while; hour; feast-day, festal-tide; canonical hour or service"), from Proto-Germanic *tīdiz (“time, period”), from Proto-Indo-European *dīti- (“time, period”), from Proto-Indo-European *dī- (“time”). Cognate with Scots tide, tyde ("moment, time, occasion, period, tide"), North Frisian tid ("time"), West Frisian tiid ("time, while"), Dutch tijd ("time"), Low German Tied ("time"), Low German Tide ("tide of the sea"), German Zeit ("time"), Swedish tid ("time"), Icelandic tíð ("time"), Albanian ditë ("day"), Old Armenian տի (ti, "age"), Kurdish dem ("time"). Related to time.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tiden, tide, from Old English tīdan ("to happen").


  • 'There is a tide in the affairs of men' -- you know the rest; and you know also that 'tide and time wait for no man. '

    The Three Clerks

  • 1000 Movies in One Year Bama fan and Darrell Hackney groupie attempts the impossible: 1000 movies in one year AL. com's Blog Tide, tide, and mo 'tide by the snazzily named Greg Wingo.


  • This account of how different sea anemone colonies battle for space in tide-pools while the tide is out is amazing -- real red-in-tooth-and-claw stuff.

    Boing Boing

  • Some people witnessed a "wall of water", which is the popular perception of what a tsunami is, whereas others were caught in what they described as a tide that rushed in very fast and reached very far, like a giant tidal or storm surge. TIDAL WAVE.

  • Desire sleeps, and we wonder at our own eagerness; of course it awakens again and again, the refluent wave flows foward bearing down every thing in its progress, until the tide is at its height, and then -!

    Zoe: The History of Two Lives

  • The Armenian gave a strong gasp; then, nodding his head thrice, 'You are right,' said he, 'the English word tide is the Armenian for sea; and now

    Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest

  • When the tide is at the highest it will turn, and so it will when it is at the lowest.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • The urge to ignore this lurching tide is strong, and reasonable.

    Mark Jacobson: Looking At An Icon Of Evil

  • In a year when a great red tide is threatening to drown the country, New York gets bluer every day.

    Dan Collins: Carl Paladino Is a Democratic Plant

  • And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.

    An Ominous Story


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • (noun) - Time or season; the divisions of the 24 hours. From an ancient book in the old German dialect, Speygel der Leyen, or the Mirrour of Laymen, it appears that the 24 hours were divided into prime, tierce, sext, none, vesper, fall of night, and metten (nightly mass). Our ancestors also had certain divisions of the artificial day, as undertide, &c.

    --William Toone's Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Words, 1832

    January 17, 2018

  • There are some nice visuals associated with this term.

    November 14, 2012

  • Edit in reverse.

    July 22, 2007