View synonyms for wave



[ weyv ]


  1. a disturbance on the surface of a liquid body, as the sea or a lake, in the form of a moving ridge or swell.

    Synonyms: whitecap, undulation

  2. any surging or progressing movement or part resembling a wave of the sea:

    a wave of the pulse.

  3. a swell, surge, or rush, as of feeling or of a certain condition:

    a wave of disgust sweeping over a person; a wave of cholera throughout the country.

  4. a widespread feeling, opinion, tendency, etc.:

    a wave of anti-intellectualism; the new wave of installment buying.

  5. a mass movement, as of troops, settlers, or migrating birds.
  6. an outward curve, or one of a series of such curves, in a surface or line; undulation.
  7. an act or instance of waving.
  8. a fluttering sign or signal made with the hand, a flag, etc.:

    a farewell wave.

  9. natural waviness of the hair, or a special treatment to impart waviness:

    to have a wave in one's hair; to get a shampoo and a wave.

  10. a period or spell of unusually hot or cold weather.
  11. Physics. a progressive disturbance propagated from point to point in a medium or space without progress or advance by the points themselves, as in the transmission of sound or light.
  12. Literary.
    1. a body of water.
    2. the sea.
  13. (at sports events, especially baseball games) a momentary standing and sitting back down by spectators in a sequential, lateral way to create, en masse, a wavelike effect visually.

verb (used without object)

, waved, wav·ing.
  1. to move freely and gently back and forth or up and down, as by the action of air currents, sea swells, etc.:

    The flags were waving in the wind.

    Synonyms: fluctuate, rock, sway, float, flutter, undulate

  2. to curve alternately in opposite directions; have an undulating form:

    The road waved along the valley.

  3. to bend or sway up and down or to and fro, as branches or plants in the wind.
  4. to be moved, especially alternately in opposite directions:

    The woman's handkerchief waved in encouragement.

  5. to give a signal by fluttering or flapping something:

    She waved to me with her hand.

verb (used with object)

, waved, wav·ing.
  1. to cause to flutter or have a waving motion in:

    A night wind waves the tattered banners.

  2. to cause to bend or sway up and down or to and fro:

    The storm waved the heavy branches of the elm.

  3. to give an undulating form to; cause to curve up and down or in and out.
  4. to give a wavy appearance or pattern to, as silk.
  5. to impart a wave to (the hair).
  6. to move, especially alternately in opposite directions:

    to wave the hand.

  7. to signal to by waving a flag or the like; direct by a waving movement:

    to wave a train to a halt; to wave traffic around an obstacle.

  8. to signify or express by a waving movement:

    to wave a last goodbye.



[ weyv ]


  1. a member of the Waves.


/ weɪv /


  1. to move or cause to move freely to and fro

    the banner waved in the wind

  2. intr to move the hand to and fro as a greeting
  3. to signal or signify by or as if by waving something
  4. tr to direct to move by or as if by waving something

    he waved me on

  5. to form or be formed into curves, undulations, etc
  6. tr to give a wavy or watered appearance to (silk, etc)
  7. tr to set waves in (the hair)


  1. one of a sequence of ridges or undulations that moves across the surface of a body of a liquid, esp the sea: created by the wind or a moving object and gravity
  2. any undulation on or at the edge of a surface reminiscent of such a wave

    a wave across the field of corn

  3. the waves
    the sea
  4. anything that suggests the movement of a wave, as by a sudden rise

    a crime wave

  5. a widespread movement that advances in a body

    a wave of settlers swept into the country

  6. the act or an instance of waving
  7. physics an oscillation propagated through a medium or space such that energy is periodically interchanged between two kinds of disturbance. For example, an oscillating electric field generates a magnetic oscillation and vice versa, hence an electromagnetic wave is produced. Similarly a wave on a liquid comprises vertical and horizontal displacements See also antinode longitudinal wave node standing wave transverse wave
  8. physics a graphical representation of a wave obtained by plotting the magnitude of the disturbance against time at a particular point in the medium or space; waveform
  9. a prolonged spell of some weather condition

    a heat wave

  10. an undulating curve or series of curves or loose curls in the hair
  11. an undulating pattern or finish on a fabric
  12. short for wave moth
  13. make waves
    to cause trouble; disturb the status quo
  14. ride the wave slang.
    to enjoy a period of success and good fortune


/ wāv /

  1. A disturbance, oscillation, or vibration, either of a medium and moving through that medium (such as water and sound waves), or of some quantity with different values at different points in space, moving through space (such as electromagnetic waves or a quantum mechanical wave described by the wave function).
  2. See also longitudinal waveSee Note at refraction


  1. In physics , any regularly recurring event, such as surf coming in toward a beach, that can be thought of as a disturbance moving through a medium. Waves are characterized by wavelength , frequency , and the speed at which they move. Waves are found in many forms.

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The motion of a wave and the motion of the medium on which the wave moves are not the same: ocean waves, for example, move toward the beach, but the water itself merely moves up and down. Sound waves are spread by alternating compression and expansion of air.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈwaveless, adjective
  • ˈwaveˌlike, adjective

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Other Words From

  • waveless adjective
  • waveless·ly adverb
  • waving·ly adverb
  • wavelike adjective
  • outwave verb (used with object) outwaved outwaving
  • under·wave noun
  • under·waving noun
  • un·waving adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wave1

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English waven (verb), Old English wafian “to wave the hands”; cognate with Middle High German waben; waver 1

Origin of wave2

First recorded in 1942; Waves

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wave1

Old English wafian (vb); related to Old High German weban to weave , Old Norse vafra; see waver ; C16 (n) changed from earlier wāwe, probably from Old English wǣg motion; compare wag 1

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. make waves, Informal. to disturb the status quo; cause trouble, as by questioning or resisting the accepted rules, procedures, etc.:

    The best way to stay out of trouble at the office is not to make waves.

More idioms and phrases containing wave

see make waves .

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Synonym Study

Wave, ripple, breaker, surf refer to a ridge or swell on the surface of water. Wave is the general word: waves in a high wind. A ripple is the smallest kind of wave, such as is caused by a stone thrown into a pool: ripples in a brook. A breaker is a wave breaking, or about to break, upon the shore or upon rocks: the roar of breakers. Surf is the collective name for breakers: Heavy surf makes bathing dangerous.

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Example Sentences

This year has marked a new wave of organizing among tech workers.

It’s a beach break, so the sand is constantly shifting and changing the way the wave breaks.

Influencer marketing is witnessing Micro-influencers making waves.

He suggested gravitational waves might be a good way to study the sun’s massive eddies.

To keep the old one going, Newton will have to jump-start a mediocre offense, and Belichick will have to ride out an unprecedented wave of defensive defections.

Thus it attracted a wave of cowboy operators to fly passengers and cargo between cities.

There have been previous waves of people moving to Texas, and we are now experiencing the latest wave.

The army has since conducted a brutal wave of jailings against activists and journalists.

We prefer to wave away the warning signs; like The Interview, Mulholland Drive was comfortably downplayed as over-the-top satire.

What are your feelings about the wave of support that always immediately presents itself from the other side?

But to wave this discourse of Heathens, how many self-contradicting principles are there held among Christians?

The wave-like movement of these animals is particularly graceful and cleverly done.

While you were admiring the long roll of the wave, a sudden spray would be dashed over you, and make you catch your breath!

"Yes," said Punch, lifted up in his father's arms to wave good-bye.

"I've brought ye thet Injun I wuz tellin' ye uv," she said, with a wave of her hand toward Alessandro.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.