ebb

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Related to ebbing: Ebbing tide

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

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

the ebb and flow of something

the continually changing character of something There is a normal ebb and flow in nature, for example, when there is just the right amount of rain and when there is not enough.
Usage notes: often said about something that regularly gets larger and smaller: There's a constant ebb and flow of traffic on the highway.
Related vocabulary: ups and downs
See also: and, ebb, flow, of

at (a) low ebb

(slightly formal) also at its lowest ebb
below the usual condition or standard The divorce comes at a time when Jackson's career is at a low ebb. Support for the arts has reached its lowest ebb and we hope it won't go any lower.
Related vocabulary: up to par
See also: ebb, low

the ebb and flow

the way in which the level of something frequently becomes higher or lower in a situation (often + of ) The government did nothing about the recession, hoping it was just part of the ebb and flow of the economy.
See also: and, ebb, flow

a low ebb

a bad state (not used with the ) Respect for the police is at a low ebb. I'd just separated from my wife and was at a fairly low ebb. (= was feeling sad and without hope) Relations between the two countries have reached their lowest ebb (= are the worst they have been) since the second world war.
See also: ebb, low

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
References in classic literature ?
Mr Pickering found that his accusers were ebbing away.
This observation convinced me that I had nothing to do but to observe the ebbing and the flowing of the tide, and I might very easily bring my boat about the island again; but when I began to think of putting it in practice, I had such terror upon my spirits at the remembrance of the danger I had been in, that I could not think of it again with any patience, but, on the contrary, I took up another resolution, which was more safe, though more laborious - and this was, that I would build, or rather make, me another periagua or canoe, and so have one for one side of the island, and one for the other.
A low-lying place and a low-spirited place Calais was, with the tide ebbing out towards low water-mark.
But when Ogg the son of Beorl died, behold, in the parting of his soul, the boat loosed itself from its moorings, and was floated with the ebbing tide in great swiftness to the ocean, and was seen no more.
When the researchers simulated the gases produced by the gradual ebbing of complex life, they discovered that the surviving microbes are going to sub-surface and produce methane that potentially would be detected by telescopes.
It took rescue crews from Flint RNLI four attempts to release it in ebbing tide.
A spokesman said: "The nets finally were freed, and because of a fast ebbing tide, and insufficient engine power the crew of the fishing boat requested a tow back to their moorings at Connah's Quay Docks, a tow was connected and the fishing boat was placed safely back on its moorings.
The negative effect on water quality was greatest when a spring tide was going out, or ebbing, Boehm and Weisberg report in an upcoming Environmental Science and Technology.
will provide the architecture and landscape architecture services for the new 26,000-SF Arkansas National Guard facility' at the Ebbing Air National Guard base outside of Fort Smith.