verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- the time between two acts, scenes, or the like.
- stage wait.
- waits,(formerly) a band of musicians employed by a city or town to play music in parades, for official functions, etc.
- a street musician, especially a singer.
- one of a band of carolers.
- a piece sung by carolers, especially a Christmas carol.
- to perform the duties of an attendant or servant for.
- to supply the wants of a person, as serving a meal or serving a customer in a store.
- to call upon or visit (a person, especially a superior): to wait on Her Majesty at the palace.
- Falconry.(of a hawk) to soar over ground until prey appears.
- Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.to wait for (a person); await.
- Also wait upon.to await (an event).
- to postpone going to bed to await someone's arrival.
- Informal.to halt and wait for another to join one, as in running or walking: Wait up, I can't walk so fast.
Origin of wait
Synonyms for wait
Related Words for wait onarrange, attend, deal, deliver, help, minister, nurse, portion, ready, set, tend
verb (intr, preposition)
Word Origin for wait
early 13c., "a watcher, onlooker," from Old North French wait, Old French gaite, from gaitier (see wait (v.)). From late 14c. as "an ambush, a trap" (as in lie in wait).
c.1200, "to watch with hostile intent, lie in wait for," from Old North French waitier "to watch" (Old French gaitier, Modern French guetter), from Frankish *wahton (cf. Dutch wacht "a watching," Old High German wahten, German wachten "to watch, to guard;" Old High German wahhon "to watch, be awake," Old English wacian "to be awake;" see wake (v.)). General sense of "remain in some place" is from late 14c.; that of "to see to it that something occurs" is late 14c. Meaning "to stand by in attendance on" is late 14c.; specific sense of "serve as an attendant at a table" is from 1560s. Related: Waited; waiting.
To wait (something) out "endure a period of waiting" is recorded from 1909, originally American English, in reference to baseball batters trying to draw a base on balls. Waiting game is recorded from 1890. Waiting room is attested from 1680s. Waiting list is recorded from 1897; the verb wait-list "to put (someone) on a waiting list" is recorded from 1960.
Also, wait upon. Serve, minister to, especially for personal needs or in a store or restaurant. For example, Guests at the Inn should not expect to be waited on—they can make their own beds and get their own breakfast. [Early 1500s]
Make a formal call on, as in They waited on the ambassador. [c. 1500]
Also, wait upon. Await, remain in readiness for, as in We're waiting on their decision to close the school. This usage, a synonym of wait for, dates from the late 1600s but in the mid-1800s began to be criticized by many authorities. However, by the late 1900s it had come into increasingly wider use and is again largely accepted.
In addition to the idioms beginning with wait
- wait a minute
- wait and see
- wait at table
- wait for the other shoe to drop
- waiting game
- waiting in the wings
- wait on
- wait on hand and foot
- wait out
- wait up
- can't wait
- hurry up and wait
- in waiting
- lie in wait
- play a waiting game