verb (used without object), waved, wav·ing.

verb (used with object), waved, wav·ing.

Nearby words

  1. waukesha,
  2. waul,
  3. waur,
  4. wausau,
  5. wauwatosa,
  6. wave band,
  7. wave cyclone,
  8. wave down,
  9. wave election,
  10. wave energy


    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.

Origin of wave

1325–75; Middle English waven (v.), Old English wafian to wave the hands; cognate with Middle High German waben; cf. waver1

1. undulation, whitecap. 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. 14. undulate, flutter, float, sway, rock; fluctuate.

Related forms
Can be confusedwaive wave

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wavelike

British Dictionary definitions for wavelike



to move or cause to move freely to and frothe banner waved in the wind
(intr) to move the hand to and fro as a greeting
to signal or signify by or as if by waving something
(tr) to direct to move by or as if by waving somethinghe waved me on
to form or be formed into curves, undulations, etc
(tr) to give a wavy or watered appearance to (silk, etc)
(tr) to set waves in (the hair)


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
any undulation on or at the edge of a surface reminiscent of such a wavea wave across the field of corn
the waves the sea
anything that suggests the movement of a wave, as by a sudden risea crime wave
a widespread movement that advances in a bodya wave of settlers swept into the country
the act or an instance of waving
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 displacementsSee also antinode, longitudinal wave, node, standing wave, transverse wave
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
a prolonged spell of some weather conditiona heat wave
an undulating curve or series of curves or loose curls in the hair
an undulating pattern or finish on a fabric
short for wave moth
make waves to cause trouble; disturb the status quo
ride the wave US slang to enjoy a period of success and good fortune
Derived Formswaveless, adjectivewavelike, adjective

Word Origin for wave

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

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

Word Origin and History for wavelike
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for wavelike




A disturbance traveling through a medium by which energy is transferred from one particle of the medium to another without causing any permanent displacement of the medium itself.
A graphic representation of the variation of such a disturbance with time.
A single cycle that is representative of such a disturbance.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for wavelike



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). See also longitudinal wave transverse wave wave function. See Note at refraction.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for wavelike


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.


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.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with wavelike


see make waves.

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