wax and wane


Increase and decrease, as in size, number, strength, or intensity, as in Enrollments in these programs wax and wane from year to year. This expression alludes to the phases of the moon, with its periodic changes in size. It was first recorded in the 1300s.

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