- To wait is defined as to stay or remain in one place until something happens.
- An example of to wait is standing in line for movie theater tickets.
- An example of to wait is expecting dinner guests to show up at your house who don't show until dessert.
Children wait to get on the bus.
- to stay in a place or remain in readiness or in anticipation (until something expected happens or for someone to arrive or catch up)
- to be ready or at hand: dinner was waiting for them
- to remain temporarily undone or neglected: let that job wait
- to serve food at a meal: with at or on: to wait at table, to wait on a person
Origin of waitMiddle English waiten ; from Norman French waitier ; from Frankish an unverified form wahten, to guard, akin to Old High German wahta, a guard, watch: for Indo-European base see wake
- to be, remain, or delay in expectation or anticipation of; await: to wait orders, to wait one's turn
- Informal to delay serving (a meal) as in waiting for someone: to wait dinner
- Obsolete to attend upon or escort, esp. as a token of respect or honor
- Obsolete to attend as a consequence
- the act or fact of waiting
- a period of waiting: a four-hour wait
- in England,
- any of a group of singers and musicians who go through the streets at Christmastime performing songs and carols for small gifts of money
- any tune so performed
- Obsolete a member of a band of musicians formerly employed by a city or town in England to play at entertainments
- Obsolete a watchman
lie in wait (for)
wait onor wait upon
- to act as a servant to
- to call on or visit (esp. a superior) in order to pay one's respects, ask a favor, etc.
- to result from; be a consequence of
- to supply the needs or requirements of (a person at table, a customer in a store, etc.), as a waiter, clerk, etc.
- Informal, Dialectal to wait for; await
- to put off going to bed until someone expected arrives or something expected happens
- Informal to stop and wait for someone to catch up
verbwait·ed, wait·ing, waits
- a. To remain or rest in expectation: waiting for the guests to arrive. See Synonyms at stay1.b. To stay in one place until another catches up: waited at the corner for everyone else in the group.
- To remain or be in readiness: Lunch is waiting at the counter.
- To remain temporarily neglected, unattended to, or postponed: The trip will have to wait.
- To work as a waiter or waitress.
- To remain or stay in expectation of; await: wait one's turn.
- Informal To delay (a meal or an event); postpone: They waited lunch for us.
- To be a waiter or waitress at: wait tables.
- The act of waiting or the time spent waiting.
- Chiefly British a. One of a group of musicians employed, usually by a city, to play in parades or public ceremonies.b. One of a group of musicians or carolers who perform in the streets at Christmastime.
Origin of waitMiddle English waiten, from Old North French waitier, to watch, of Germanic origin; see weg- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present waits, present participle waiting, simple past and past participle waited)
- (now rare) To delay movement or action until the arrival or occurrence of; to await. (Now generally superseded by "wait for".)
- (intransitive) To delay movement or action until some event or time; to remain neglected or in readiness.
- Wait here until your car arrives.
- (intransitive, US) To wait tables; to serve customers in a restaurant or other eating establishment.
- She used to wait down at the Dew Drop Inn.
- Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait thee, / And everlasting anguish be thy portion.
- In sense 1, this is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive.
From Middle English waiten, wayten, from Old Northern French waiter, waitier (compare French guetter from Old French gaiter, guaitier), from Old Frankish *wahtÅn, *wahtjan (“to watch, guard"), derivative of *wahta (“guard, watch"), from Proto-Germanic *wahtwÅ (“guard, watch"), from Proto-Indo-European *weÇµ- (“to be fresh, cheerful, awake"). Cognate with Old High German wahtÄ“n (“to watch, guard"), Dutch wachten (“to wait, expect"), French guetter (“to watch out for"), North Frisian wachtjen (“to stand, stay put"). More at watch.