Are hard waves crashing on rocks? Do waves collide in the ocean?

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  • Using "crashing waves" is way more common in my experience, but you could call them colliding waves for sure. – Kace36 Jul 25 '17 at 7:02
  • It's a Physics question. – Blessed Geek Jul 25 '17 at 7:17
  • I don't see either description fitting the situation, clashing or colliding have meanings slightly different from the way waves "crash." – Kris Jul 25 '17 at 7:25
  • @Kris Hmm I thought they said "crashing"? Yea, clash not at all. But I've seen crashing waves used in many situations. Not so much collide; though it works. – Kace36 Jul 25 '17 at 8:19
  • They also pass through each other. You have a relatively free hand in choosing the words that best describe the experience you're trying to relay. – Lawrence Jul 25 '17 at 8:30

Crash as a transitive verb means "to break violently," MW. As an intransitive verb it means "to break or go to pieces with." Crash is an apt description of waves meeting rocks, and is commonly used. Collide means "to come together with solid impact," MW. Waves coming from two or more directions (wind conditions or a point break, etc.) do collide, that is meet each other with a solid impact.


Technically waves pass through each other in the ocean, its called "superimposition". They dont "collide", which also carries a sense that they impact and stop, or are broken, etc. There's no collision. But that may not be much help in writing nontechnically.

  • Useful comment. Not an answer. – Kris Jul 26 '17 at 12:34
  • "They don't collide" is an answer. I can't comment on the subjective description of whether waves hitting rocks is crashing. – Stilez Jul 26 '17 at 14:24
  • Please go through the FAQ section and earn a badge! – Kris Jul 27 '17 at 13:24
  • -1. In linear wave theory, it is superposition, not superimposition; although the two are used interchangeably in some other disciplines. And ocean waves are often not very well modeled with linear theory. They can and do collide. youtube.com/watch?v=1EleV3tgF20 – Phil Sweet Aug 24 '17 at 20:54

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