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[wey-ver] /ˈweɪ vər/
verb (used without object)
to sway to and fro; flutter:
Foliage wavers in the breeze.
to flicker or quiver, as light:
A distant beam wavered and then disappeared.
become unsteady; begin to fail or give way:
When she heard the news her courage wavered.
to shake or tremble, as the hands or voice:
Her voice wavered.
to feel or show doubt, indecision, etc.; vacillate:
He wavered in his determination.
(of things) to fluctuate or vary:
Prices wavered.
to totter or reel:
The earth quaked and the tower wavered.
an act of wavering, fluttering, or vacillating.
Origin of waver1
1275-1325; Middle English (see wave, -er6); cognate with dialectal German wabern to move about, Old Norse vafra to toddle
Related forms
waverer, noun
waveringly, adverb
nonwavering, adjective
unwavered, adjective
unwavering, adjective
unwaveringly, adverb
4. quiver. 5. Waver, fluctuate, vacillate refer to an alternation or hesitation between one direction and another. Waver means to hesitate between choices: to waver between two courses of action. Fluctuate suggests irregular change from one side to the other or up and down: The prices of stocks fluctuate when there is bad news followed by good. Vacillate is to make up one's mind and change it again suddenly; to be undecided as to what to do: We must not vacillate but must set a day.


[wey-ver] /ˈweɪ vər/
a person who waves or causes something to wave:
Election time brings out the wavers of flags and haranguers of mobs.
a person who specializes in waving hair.
something, as a curling iron, used for waving hair.
First recorded in 1550-60; wave + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for waver
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Once there was a waver in the line, such as precedes a rush.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • He had settled opinions about Mrs. Roberts now, from which he would not be likely to waver.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • Grant did not even look at Phoebe, but his purpose seemed to waver in spite of himself.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • She seemed to waver, but stood—speechless, as if waiting for more.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • Despite the agony, his gaze did not waver from the video set across the room.

    No Hiding Place Richard R. Smith
  • John Baxter continued to waver between this world and the next.

    Cap'n Eri Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • But the resolution which had never failed him before began now to waver.

  • The outlaw allowed his eyes to waver and he fell with a bullet-hole in his forehead.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
British Dictionary definitions for waver


verb (intransitive)
to be irresolute; hesitate between two possibilities
to become unsteady
to fluctuate or vary
to move back and forth or one way and another
(of light) to flicker or flash
the act or an instance of wavering
Derived Forms
waverer, noun
wavering, adjective
waveringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse vafra to flicker; related to German wabern to move about
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for waver

late 13c., weyveren, "to show indecision," probably related to Old English wæfre "restless, wavering," from Proto-Germanic *wæbraz (cf. Middle High German wabern "to waver," Old Norse vafra "to hover about"), a frequentative form from the root of wave (v.). Related: Wavered; wavering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for waver


Related Terms

flag-waver, skivvy-waver

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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