sea change

sea change

Meaning

  • to have a big change in perspective
  • to undergo a complete transformation
  • a striking change in appearance

Example Sentences

  1. There was a sea change in his personality after he married his wife.
  2. “And that these hearings are the beginning of a real sea change in the relationship between the government and technology.”
  3. We have just been bought over by a new company. It seems as if a sea change is in store for our marketing department.
  4. Since she started working out there has been a sea change in her appearance.

Origin

It was originally related to how fast the sea can change depending on the weather. It is first mentioned in Shakespeare’s The Tempest in 1611.

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,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.

It is now used to denote a more figurative change. The archaic meaning relates to a literal change. Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, and P.G. Wodehouse all used it in their literature to allude to the suffering of a character. In the Tempest Shakespeare seamlessly interweaves the literal and the figurative.

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