Definition of seiche in US English:



  • A temporary disturbance or oscillation in the water level of a lake or partially enclosed body of water, especially one caused by changes in atmospheric pressure.

    • ‘A subsequent troop of smaller waves, called seiches, would then finish the job, rinsing away casinos and the waterfront escapes of Internet millionaires.’
    • ‘The horizontal currents over the reef were found to be primarily due to the hydraulic flow and surface gravitational seiches.’
    • ‘The second uncommon event produced by the earthquake was the giant wave, known to geologists as a seiche, that formed when Hebgen Lake tipped and water began to slosh from one lake shore to the other and back again.’
    • ‘Another type of water wave, a seiche, is generated in an enclosed body of water such as a lake.’
    • ‘However, sloshing waves called seiches can arise within the harbor and cause water levels to vary as much as 1.8 meters in as little as 45 minutes.’
    • ‘A particular feature of Lake Champlain - an effect called a seiche - may help to produce just such sightings.’
    • ‘A seiche occurs in bodies of water that are partially or completely enclosed, such as Hilo Bay, creating a standing wave that continually sloshes back and forth.’
    • ‘In these and subsequent papers Chrystal studied seiches in lakes of many different shapes.’


Mid 19th century: from Swiss French, perhaps from German Seiche ‘sinking (of water)’.