a sea change
A massive, fundamental shift or transformation. The transition from using desktop computers to mobile devices represents a sea change in data management within the field of information technology.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a sea changeLITERARY
COMMON A sea change is a complete change in someone's attitudes or behaviour. There has been a sea change in attitudes to drink-driving, thanks to greater public awareness of the problem. Note: This phrase is taken from act 1 scene 2 of Shakespeare's play `The Tempest' (1611), which begins with a storm at sea and is a tale of magic and transformation: `Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made: Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange.'
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
sea change, a
A radical change, a transformation. Shakespeare coined this cliché in The Tempest (1.2): “Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea change Into something rich and strange.” Nearly four centuries later, J. A. Jance used it in Devil’s Claw (2000): “For the very first time . . . she had called her future son-in-law Butch instead of Frederick. It indicated a sea change in her mother’s attitude, and that was pretty damned wonderful, too.”
See also: sea
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer