tide over

tide over


  1. the periodic rise and fall of the waters of the ocean and its inlets, produced by the attraction of the moon and sun, and occurring about every 12 hours.
  2. the inflow, outflow, or current of water at any given place resulting from the waves of tides.
  3. flood tide.
  4. a stream or current.
  5. anything that alternately rises and falls, increases and decreases, etc.: the tide of the seasons.
  6. current, tendency, or drift, as of events or ideas: the tide of international events.
  7. any extreme or critical period or condition: The tide of her illness is at its height.
  8. a season or period in the course of the year, day, etc. (now used chiefly in combination): wintertide; eventide.
  9. Ecclesiastical. a period of time that includes and follows an anniversary, festival, etc.
  10. Archaic. a suitable time or occasion.
  11. Obsolete. an extent of time.

verb (used without object), tid·ed, tid·ing.

  1. to flow as the tide; flow to and fro.
  2. to float or drift with the tide.

verb (used with object), tid·ed, tid·ing.

  1. to carry, as the tide does.

Verb Phrases

  1. tide over,
    1. to assist in getting over a period of difficulty or distress.
    2. to surmount (a difficulty, obstacle, etc.); survive.


  1. turn the tide, to reverse the course of events, especially from one extreme to another: The Battle of Saratoga turned the tide of the American Revolution.


  1. (tr) to help to get through (a period of difficulty, distress, etc)the money tided him over until he got a job


  1. the cyclic rise and fall of sea level caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon. There are usually two high tides and two low tides in each lunar daySee also tide-generating force, neap tide, spring tide
  2. the current, ebb, or flow of water at a specified place resulting from these changes in levelthe tide is coming in
  3. See ebb (def. 3), flood (def. 3)
  4. a widespread tendency or movementthe tide of resentment against the government
  5. a critical point in time; turning pointthe tide of his fortunes
  6. Northern English dialect a fair or holiday
  7. (in combination) a season or timeChristmastide
  8. rare any body of mobile water, such as a stream
  9. archaic a favourable opportunity


  1. to carry or be carried with or as if with the tide
  2. (intr) to ebb and flow like the tide


  1. (intr) archaic to happen

n.Old English tid “point or portion of time, due time,” from Proto-Germanic *tidiz “division of time” (cf. Old Saxon tid, Dutch tijd, Old High German zit, German Zeit “time”), from PIE *di-ti- “division, division of time,” suffixed form of root *da- “to divide, cut up” (cf. Sanskrit dati “cuts, divides;” Greek demos “people, land,” perhaps literally “division of society;” daiesthai “to divide;” Old Irish dam “troop, company”). Meaning “rise and fall of the sea” (mid-14c.) is probably via notion of “fixed time,” specifically “time of high water;” either a native evolution or from Middle Low German getide (cf. also Dutch tij, German Gezeiten “flood tide”). Old English seems to have had no specific word for this, using flod and ebba to refer to the rise and fall. Old English heahtid “high tide” meant “festival, high day.” v.“to carry (as the tide does),” 1620s, from tide (n.). Usually with over. Related: Tided; tiding. n.

  1. An alternate increase and decrease, as of levels of a substance in the blood or digestive tract.

  1. The regular rise and fall in the surface level of the Earth’s oceans, seas, and bays caused by the gravitational attraction of the Moon and to a lesser extent of the Sun. The maximum high tides (or spring tides) occur when the Moon and Sun are directly aligned with Earth, so that their gravitational pull on Earth’s waters is along the same line and is reinforced. The lowest high tides (or neap tides) occur when the Moon and Sun are at right angles to each other, so that their gravitational pull on Earth’s waters originates from two different directions and is mitigated. Tides vary greatly by region and are influenced by sea-floor topography, storms, and water currents. See also ebb tide flood tide neap tide spring tide.

Support through a difficult period, as in I asked my brother for $100 to tide me over until payday. This expression alludes to the way the tide carries something. [Early 1800s] In addition to the idiom beginning with tide

  • tide over
  • also see:

  • stem the tide
  • swim against the current (tide)
  • swim with the tide
  • time and tide
  • turn of the tide
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