Definition of neap in English:



  • A tide just after the first or third quarters of the moon when there is least difference between high and low water.

    ‘neaps occur at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.’
    • ‘You need to pick the very smallest neap tides to fish these wrecks.’
    • ‘The water is evened out all over the earth's oceans, producing neap tides.’
    • ‘Pollack feed longer during smaller neap tides than they do through a big spring tide.’
    • ‘They'll feed during the biggest spring tides and the smallest neaps.’
    • ‘Try to plan your trips around the smaller neaps, but experiment with the medium to big spring tides.’


  • 1(of a boat) be kept aground or in harbour by a neap tide.

    ‘a change of wind could leave you neaped’
    • ‘She had arrived fully laden one Friday and because of her deep draft was neaped until Monday morning.’
    • ‘There was also a risk of getting neaped.’
    • ‘Ibis was neaped on the old slipway at Morwellham Quay, and covered over.’
    • ‘On the down side if we ran aground exactly at High Tide we were likely to be neaped - and we were not kitted to sleep aboard.’
    • ‘I was quite alarmed to feel the foils scraping the sand halfway across even at high water, so as I didn't want to get neaped, I retraced my route back to Walney where I decided to dry out for the night.’
    • ‘This voyage made more history than money as on the way down the vessel was neaped, waiting for water near Guyhurn Bridge for almost 2 weeks.’
    1. 1.1archaic [no object](of a tide) tend towards or reach the highest point of a neap tide.
      • ‘With neaping tides this weekend the best shot to target a barra will be around the rocky headlands.’
      • ‘I went out today even though it was neaping.’
      • ‘Barramundi had been a bit quiet on the neaping tides but as the tides increased the Barra's started to bite and bite they did.’
      • ‘Of course the tide was neaping.’
      • ‘Passion that exists from the beginning of time to the end of eternity emerging in uncontrollable throes like the surging and neaping of the tide and the wind’
      • ‘I hear it has something to do with the faces of the moon, or maybe the tide, which is quite active hereabouts, ebbing and neaping even as we sleep.’
      • ‘The tides were now neaping, traditionally not a good time to go lureing, but a good time to try out a medium size ‘prawnstar’, I thought.’
      • ‘I prefer a neaping tide and fish from the mangroves out to about 60m wide and catch all varieties.’


Late Middle English, originally an adjective from Old English nēp, first element of nēpflōd ‘neap flood’, of unknown origin.