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Abate vs Subside vs Wane vs Ebb

Abate, subside, wane and ebb all mean to die down in force or intensity.

What’s the difference?

Abate stresses a progressive diminishing.

  • The storms had abated by the time they rounded Cape Horn.

Subside suggests a falling to a low level and an easing of turbulence.

  • She waited nervously for his anger to subside.

Wane adds to abate an implication of fading or weakening and is often used of something impressive or intense.

  • The moon was waning, and each day it rose later.
  • While his interest in these sports began to wane, a passion for rugby developed.

Ebb suggests a gradual waning, especially of something that commonly comes and goes.

  • As night fell, our enthusiasm began to ebb away.