Meaning of WAIT in English

I. ˈwāt, usu -ād.+V verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English waiten, from Old North French waitier to watch, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wahta watch, guard, wahhēn, wahhōn to watch, be awake — more at wake

transitive verb


a. : to stay in place or remain inactive in expectation of : stay for : await

waited his turn to play

horses … waiting their riders — L.C.Douglas

waited their coming with dignity — Elizabeth Middleton


(1) : to hold back in expectation of : delay in hope of : defer until

wait a favorable opportunity

waited a better day — Century Magazine

waited her chance — Amelia Walden

(2) : to delay in hope of a favorable change in or cessation of

wait out the stock market

wait out a storm

2. archaic : to accompany with ceremony or respect : attend on : escort

bids him wait her to her sacred dome — Alexander Pope

3. archaic : to be ready or available for

tea and coffee wait your pleasure in the drawing room — R.S.Surtees

4. : to delay serving (a meal) : put off : hold , keep

waited dinner for the latecomers to arrive

5. : to serve the eaters sitting at

earned a few dollars waiting table — Ralph Ellison

intransitive verb


a. : to remain stationary in readiness or expectation

sat and waited for the man in charge

waiting in line for hours

kept us waiting in the rain

b. obsolete : to remain hopeful and trusting

truly my soul waiteth upon God — Ps 62:1 (Authorized Version)


(1) : to linger expectantly at or near a place : hang around

waiting around hoping to see a celebrity

(2) of a hawk : to circle above the hunter till the game is sprung

d. : to pause or halt for another to catch up

waited up for me … and we went along side by side — Helen Eustis

e. South & Midland : to stay expectantly for another to speak or act

come on, we're waiting on you

f. : to delay going to bed

waited up to see a late show on television


a. : to look forward expectantly

waiting to see his rival lose

waiting for the shell to explode

b. : to hold back expectantly : delay until the proper condition has come about

waiting for his chance to strike

a land where wealth waited on a lot of hard work — J.H.Plumb

waited till the war's end to get married

c. : to hold back in a competition (as a race) with the expectation of closing strong to win in the final stage

waited off, well behind the leaders, until the last lap


a. archaic

(1) : to be in readiness to serve or execute orders

they also serve who only stand and wait — John Milton

(2) : to act as an attendant

maids of honor to wait upon the queen — American Guide Series: Maryland

(3) South & Midland : to attend a bride or groom at a wedding ceremony

b. : to supply the wants of another : serve

waited on her children hand and foot

c. : to serve at meals : be a waiter

specialized either in waiting or in cookery — G.V.Selsey

— usually used in the phrases wait at table or wait on table

as a student he waited at table for two years

waits on tables when the restaurant is crowded

d. : to serve a customer or client (as in a shop)

looked around for a salesgirl to wait on her

e. : to serve as escort

waited upon the visiting dignitaries to their lodgings

4. : to make a formal call

a delegation waited on the commissioners — Meridel LeSueur


a. : to be ready and available

a letter waiting for you on the table

slippers waited by the bed — Mary Cable

ideas … waiting for discovery — A.N.Whitehead

b. : to remain temporarily neglected

your letter has waited longer than they often do — O.W.Holmes †1935

c. : to remain unrealized for a time

the establishment of large purses waited until the seventies — American Guide Series: New York

6. Britain : park 1

Synonyms: see stay

- in waiting

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English waite watchman, watchman who sounds watch, public musician, watch, wait, from Old North French, watchman, watch, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wahta watch, guard


a. : one of a band of public musicians in England employed usually by a city to play for processions or at official or public entertainments

the wait who played the bagpipes — London Calling


(1) : one of a group of street or rustic serenaders who play or sing at night for small gratuities especially around the Christmas season

(2) : a piece of music provided by these musicians

c. : shawm ; especially : one played by the town musicians of England


a. : a position from which a person in concealment can watch usually with intent to attack or surprise : ambush — used chiefly in the expression lie in wait

thieves lying in wait around the bend of the road

b. : a condition or attitude of watchfulness and expectancy

anchored in wait for early morning fishing — Fred Zimmer


a. : an act of waiting

endless waits that make up a soldier's life — Dixon Wecter

b. : a period of waiting : delay , interval

a long wait in line

a week's wait before delivery

specifically : a break or pause (as between the acts) in a theatrical performance : intermission

run off the program without waits

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.