A woman applying wax to her car.
- Wax is a sticky substance that is made from honeycomb or any substance with a similar feel.
- An example of wax is the substance produced by a burning candle.
- An example of wax is what you clean out of your ears with a cotton swab.
- To wax is to polish something using a special substance designed for shining or protecting or to remove unwanted hair by applying a warmed sticky substance to it and then using paper to pull off the hairs that stick to the substance.
- An example of wax is when you apply polish to the floor or to your car.
- An example of wax is when you remove unwanted eyebrow hair by pulling it out.
- a plastic, dull-yellow substance secreted by bees for building cells; beeswax: it is hard when cold and easily molded when warm, melts at c. 64.4°C (c. 148°F), cannot be dissolved in water, and is used for candles, modeling, etc.
- any plastic substance like this; specif.,
- a waxlike substance exuded by the ears; earwax; cerumen
- a waxy substance produced by scale insects
- any waxlike substance yielded by plants or animals
- a resinous substance used by shoemakers to rub on thread
- sealing wax
- any of a group of substances with a waxy appearance made up variously of esters, fatty acids, free alcohols, and solid hydrocarbons
Origin of waxfrom the wax cylinders formerly used for recording soundInformal the phonograph record as a recording medium
Origin of waxMiddle English ; from Old English weax, akin to German wachs ; from Indo-European an unverified form wokso- ; from an unverified form weg-, to weave, probably ; from base an unverified form (a)we-, to weave
- to rub, polish, cover, smear, or treat with wax
- to remove unwanted hair from (the body) by applying and removing a hot waxy substance
- Informal to make a phonograph recording of
- to grow gradually larger, more numerous, etc.; increase in strength, intensity, volume, etc.: said esp. of the visible face of the moon during the phases after new moon in which the lighted portion is gradually increasing from a thin crescent on the right, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere
- Literary to become; grow: to wax angry
- to speak or express oneself: he waxed on and on about his prowess
Origin of waxMiddle English waxen ; from Old English weaxan, to grow, akin to German wachsen ; from Indo-European an unverified form aweks- ; from base an unverified form aweg-, an unverified form aug- from source eke, Classical Latin augere, Classical Greek auxein, to increase
Origin of wax; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps wax, as in phrase wax angry
Origin of waxPerhaps from wax2 (as in archaic to wax angry, to grow angry).
- a. Any of various natural, oily or greasy heat-sensitive substances, consisting of hydrocarbons or esters of fatty acids that are insoluble in water but soluble in nonpolar organic solvents.b. Beeswax.c. Earwax.
- a. A solid plastic or pliable liquid substance, such as ozocerite or paraffin, originating from petroleum and found in rock layers and used in paper coating, as insulation, in crayons, and often in medicinal preparations.b. A preparation containing wax used for polishing floors and other surfaces.
- A resinous mixture used by shoemakers to rub on thread.
- A cosmetic procedure in which facial or body hair is removed by peeling away a layer of wax that has been allowed to harden.
transitive verbwaxed, wax·ing, wax·es
- To coat, treat, or polish with wax.
- a. To remove (facial or body hair) by covering the skin with a layer of wax that is peeled off after hardening, uprooting the encased hairs.b. To remove hair from (a portion of the body) by this method.
Origin of waxMiddle English, from Old English weax.
intransitive verbwaxed, wax·ing, wax·es
- To increase gradually in size, number, strength, or intensity: “His love affair with Mrs. Bernstein waxed and waned and waxed again” (C. Hugh Holman).
- To show a progressively larger illuminated area, as the moon does in passing from new to full.
- a. To grow or become as specified: “His very body had waxed old in lowly service of the Lord” (James Joyce).b. To speak or write as specified: “[He] warmed to his most favorite of subjects, waxed eloquent, gained in his face a glow of passion” (Paul J. Willis).
Origin of waxMiddle English waxen, from Old English weaxan; see aug- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural waxes)
- What rÃ´le does the wax in your earhole fulfill?
- Any oily, water-resistant substance; normally long-chain hydrocarbons, alcohols or esters.
- Any preparation containing wax, used as a polish.
- A phonograph record.
- (US, dialect) A thick syrup made by boiling down the sap of the sugar maple and then cooling it.
- Made of wax.
(third-person singular simple present waxes, present participle waxing, simple past and past participle waxed)
- To apply wax to (something, such as a shoe, a floor, a car, or an apple), usually to make it shiny.
- To remove hair at the roots from (a part of the body) by coating the skin with a film of wax that is then pulled away sharply.
- (informal) To defeat utterly.
- (slang) To kill, especially to murder a person.
- (archaic, usually of a musical or oral performance) To record. [from 1900]
(third-person singular simple present waxes, present participle waxing, simple past waxed or wex (archaic), past participle waxed or waxen (dialectal or archaic))
- (rare) The process of growing.
From Middle English waxen, from Old English weaxan (“to wax, grow, be fruitful, increase, become powerful, flourish"), from Proto-Germanic *wahsijanÄ… (“to grow"), from Proto-Indo-European *hâ‚‚weg-, *weks-, *aweks-, *auks- (“to grow, increase"). Cognate with Scots wax (“to grow"), West Frisian waakse (“to grow"), Low German wassen, Dutch wassen (“to grow"), German wachsen (“to grow"), Danish and Norwegian vokse (“to grow"), Swedish vÃ¤xa (“to grow"), Icelandic vaxa (“to grow"), Gothic ð…ðŒ°ðŒ·ðƒðŒ¾ðŒ°ðŒ½ (wahsjan, “to grow"); and with Ancient Greek á¼€ÎÎ¾ÎµÎ¹Î½ (aeksein), Latin auxilium. It is in its turn cognate with augeo. See eke.
- (dated, colloquial) An outburst of anger.
Origin uncertain; probably from phrases like to wax angry, wax wode, and similar (see Etymology 2, above).