ebb

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Related to ebbed: Low Water Mark

at (something's) lowest ebb

In a state of decline; less or lower than the typical standard or expectation. The charity struggled to help those in need, as outside donations were at their lowest ebb in years.
See also: ebb, low

low ebb

A state of decline. The economy is at a low ebb with no hope of recovery in the near future.
See also: ebb, low

at a low ebb

At a low point, like the receding tide. Please don't give me any more bad news—I'm already at a low ebb. Interest in the local soccer team is really at a low ebb, thanks to all those losing seasons.
See also: ebb, low

ebb and flow

1. verb To consistently increase and decrease. I wouldn't worry too much about losing money this quarter because we'll earn it back later in the year. That's just how business ebbs and flows.
2. noun A period of consistent increase and decrease. I wouldn't worry too much because we always lose money this quarter and then earn it back later in the year. It's just the natural ebb and flow of business.
See also: and, ebb, flow

ebb away

To recede or move away. The floodwaters are finally beginning to ebb away, thank goodness. After being stuck in bed for weeks, I'm very relieved that my illness is ebbing away.
See also: away, ebb

ebb and flow

to decrease and then increase, as with tides; a decrease followed by an increase, as with tides. The fortunes of the major political parties tend to ebb and flow over time. The ebb and flow of democracy through history is a fascinating subject.
See also: and, ebb, flow

ebb away

to recede; to subside; to flow back. His life ebbed away little by little. As the sunlight ebbed away, the sky took on a grayish color.
See also: away, ebb

at a low ebb

At a low point, in a state of decline or depression. For example, The current recession has put our business at a low ebb. This idiom transfers the low point of a tide to a decline in human affairs. [Mid-1600s]
See also: ebb, low

ebb and flow

A decline and increase, constant fluctuations. For example, He was fascinated by the ebb and flow of the Church's influence over the centuries. This expression alludes to the inward and outward movement of ocean tides. [Late 1500s]
See also: and, ebb, flow

at a low ebb

COMMON
1. If something is at a low ebb, it is failing and at a low level. Confidence in the whole project was at a low ebb. By now, the company's finances were at a low ebb. Note: You can also say that something is at its lowest ebb. Their reputation was at its lowest ebb.
2. If someone is at a low ebb, they are depressed. When I have been at a low ebb I have found the friendship and love of my fellow churchgoers to be a great comfort. Note: You can also say that someone is at their lowest ebb. I was mentally at my lowest ebb. Note: The ebb tide is one of the regular periods, usually two per day, when the sea gradually falls to a lower level, as the tide moves away from the land.
See also: ebb, low

ebb and flow

COMMON The ebb and flow of something is the way that it continuously changes, especially in its amount or level. The advantage to the employer is flexibility to cope with the commercial ebb and flow. The vineyards are tucked into small clearings formed by the natural ebb and flow of the hills and the trees. Note: Ebb and flow is also used as a verb meaning to change continuously, especially in amount or level. During those thirty years the fortunes of the British film industry ebbed and flowed. Note: This expression comes from the idea of the tide ebbing and flowing (= going in and out).
See also: and, ebb, flow

at a low ebb

in an especially poor state.
See also: ebb, low

ebb and flow

a recurrent or rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth.
This expression makes reference to the regular movement of the tides, where ebb means move away from the land and flow move back towards it.
See also: and, ebb, flow

the ˌebb and ˈflow (of somebody/something)

the repeated, often regular, movement from one state to another; the repeated change in level, numbers or amount: the ebb and flow of money/seasonsShe sat quietly, enjoying the ebb and flow of conversation.
This expression refers to the movement of the sea away from and towards the land.
See also: and, ebb, flow

(at) a low ˈebb

not as good, strong, successful, etc. as usual: Business confidence is at a low ebb at the moment.Our family fortunes are at a bit of a low ebb. OPPOSITE: (on) the crest of a wave
This idiom refers to a very low tide, when the sea is a long way from the land.
See also: ebb, low
References in classic literature ?
Oppression sat heavily upon them; the lightness of their natures had ebbed out of them; they were slack and absent- minded in their service, and they whispered gloomily to one another in the far end of the car next to the kitchen.
This was a post of great importance, for, as you know, the monasteries were the schools and libraries of the country, and they were the inns too, so all the true life of the land ebbed and flowed through the monasteries.
Too long and too deeply had life ebbed down in him to bite him with fear of its impending extinction.
One had the sense of a backwater, or rather of an estuary, whose waters flowed in from the invisible sea, and ebbed into a profound silence while the waves without were still beating.
But his strength ebbed, his eyes glazed, and he knew nothing when the train was flagged and the two men threw him into the baggage car.
I might still shoot, they tell me, but my strength has ebbed away.
No search had been made up here, for the tide had been running strongly down, at that time of the night of Christmas Eve, and the likeliest places for the discovery of a body, if a fatal accident had happened under such circumstances, all lay--both when the tide ebbed, and when it flowed again--between that spot and the sea.
The blood ebbed from her face with the apprehension and fear his appearance caused.