- Also called beeswax. a solid, yellowish, nonglycerine substance allied to fats and oils, secreted by bees, plastic when warm and melting at about 145°F, variously employed in making candles, models, casts, ointments, etc., and used by bees in constructing their honeycomb.
- any of various similar substances, as spermaceti or the secretions of certain insects and plants.Compare vegetable wax, wax insect.
- any of a group of substances composed of hydrocarbons, alcohols, fatty acids, and esters that are solid at ordinary temperatures.
- cerumen; earwax.
- a resinous substance used by shoemakers for rubbing thread.
- sealing wax.
- a person or object suggesting wax, as in manageability or malleability: I am helpless wax in your hands.
- to rub, smear, stiffen, polish, etc., with wax: to wax the floor.
- to fill the crevices of (ornamental marble) with colored material.
- bikini wax.
- Informal. to make a phonograph recording of.
- Slang. to defeat decisively; drub: We waxed the competition.
- pertaining to, made of, or resembling wax: a wax candle; a wax doll.
- whole ball of wax, Slang.
- the entire or overall plan, concept, action, result, or the like: The first ten minutes of the meeting will determine the whole ball of wax.
- everything of a similar or related nature: They sold us skis, boots, bindings, poles—the whole ball of wax.
Origin of wax1
- to increase in extent, quantity, intensity, power, etc.: Discord waxed at an alarming rate.
- (of the moon) to increase in the extent of its illuminated portion before the full moon.Compare wane(def 4).
- to grow or become: He waxed angry at the insinuation.
Origin of wax2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a fit of anger; rage.
Origin of wax3
Examples from the Web for wax
Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on parchment or wax paper.Make ‘The Chew’s’ Carla Hall’s Sticky Toffee Pudding
December 28, 2014
Inside the wax floored examining room, I sat up on the powder blue table with my shirt off.I Shot Bin Laden
November 16, 2014
I promised never again to wax lyrical about the fries in gravy.I Saw Nuclear Armageddon Sitting on My Desk
November 10, 2014
Full disclosure: I briefly worked for Torres at his current magazine, Wax Poetics.It Was All a Dream: Drama, Bullshit, and the Rebirth of The Source Magazine
October 14, 2014
Once dried, a liquid, such as plaster, wax, or bronze, is poured in for a perfect representation of the face.The Ukrainian Face Collector Launches an Exhibition in Kiev
August 21, 2014
It ain't made of wax nor anything else that folks ever made.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
When he at last reappeared he was white as wax, distressed, anxious, but still resolute.The Dream
Marriott was lighting the six wax candles on the dressing-table.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
In those days men fastened their letters and receipts and bills with wax.
While the wax was soft they stamped their names in it with a metal seal.
- any of various viscous or solid materials of natural origin: characteristically lustrous, insoluble in water, and having a low softening temperature, they consist largely of esters of fatty acids
- any of various similar substances, such as paraffin wax or ozocerite, that have a mineral origin and consist largely of hydrocarbons
- short for beeswax, sealing wax
- physiol another name for cerumen
- a resinous preparation used by shoemakers to rub on thread
- bone wax a mixture of wax, oil, and carbolic acid applied to the cut surface of a bone to prevent bleeding
- any substance or object that is pliable or easily mouldedhe was wax in the hands of the political bosses
- (modifier) made of or resembling waxa wax figure
- the act or an instance of removing body hair by coating it with warm wax, applying a strip of fabric, and then removing the fabric sharply, thereby plucking the hairs out by their roots
- (tr) to coat, polish, etc, with wax
- to remove (body hair) by means of a wax treatment
- to become larger, more powerful, etc
- (of the moon) to show a gradually increasing portion of illuminated surface, between new moon and full moonCompare wane (def. 1)
- archaic to become as specifiedthe time waxed late
- British informal, old-fashioned a fit of rage or temperhe's in a wax today
Word Origin and History for wax
"substance made by bees," Old English weax, from Proto-Germanic *wakhsan (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German wahs, Old Norse vax, Dutch was, German Wachs); cognate with Old Church Slavonic vasku, Lithuanian vaškas, Polish wosk, Russian vosk "wax" (but these may be from Germanic). Waxworks "exhibition of wax figures representing famous or notorious persons" first recorded 1796.
"grow bigger or greater," Old English weaxan "to increase, grow" (class VII strong verb; past tense weox, past participle weaxen), from Proto-Germanic *wakhsan (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German wahsan, Old Norse vaxa, Old Frisian waxa, Dutch wassen, German wachsen, Gothic wahsjan "to grow, increase"), from PIE *wegs- (cf. Sanskrit vaksayati "cause to grow," Greek auxein "to increase"), extended form of root *aug- "to increase" (see augment). Strong conjugation archaic after 14c. Related: Waxed; waxing.
- Any of various natural, oily or greasy heat-sensitive substances, consisting of hydrocarbons or esters of fatty acids that are insoluble in water but soluble in most organic solvents.
- A solid plastic or pliable liquid substance, such as paraffin, originating from petroleum and found in rock layers and often used in medicinal preparations.
- Any of various solid, usually yellow substances that melt or soften easily when heated. They are similar to fats, but are less greasy and more brittle. Naturally occurring animal and plant waxes are esters of saturated fatty acids and alcohols of high molecular weight, including sterols. Waxes are also manufactured synthetically from petroleum, and are used to make polishers, lubricants, coatings, waterproofing, crayons, candles, and many other products.