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wait and see
wait around
wait in
wait on
wait out
wait up
wait upon

Wait definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

WAIT, v.i. [The sense is to stop, or to continue.]
1. To stay or rest in expectation; to stop or remain stationary, till the arrival of some person or event. Thus we say, I went to the place of meeting, and there waited an hour for the moderator or chairman. I will go to the hotel, and there wait till you come. We will wait for the mail.
2. To stay proceedings, or suspend any business, in expectation of some person, event, or the arrival of some hour. The court was obliged to wait for a witness.
3. To rest in expectation and patience.
All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Job 14.
4. To stay; not to depart.
Haste, my dear father, tis no time to wait.
5. To stay; to continue by reason of hindrance.
6. To lie in ambush, as an enemy.
Such ambush waited to intercept thy way.
To wait on or upon, to attend, as a servant; to perform menial services for; as, to wait on a gentleman; to wait on the table.
To wait on,
1. To attend; to go to see; to visit on business or for ceremony. Tell the gentleman I will wait on him at ten oclock.
2. To pay servile or submissive attendance.
3. To follow, as a consequence; as the ruin that waits on such a supine temper. [Instead of this, we use await.]
4. To look watchfully.
It is a point of cunning to wait on him with whom you speak, with your eye. [Unusual.]
5. To attend to; to perform.
Aaron and his sons shall wait on their priests office. Numbers 3, 8. Romans 12.
6. To be ready to serve; to obey. Psalms 25. Proverbs 20.
To wait at, to attend in service; to perform service at. 1 Corinthians 9.
To wait for, to watch, as an enemy. Job 15.
WAIT, v.t.
1. To stay for; to rest or remain stationary in expectation of the arrival of.
Awd with these words, in camps they still abide, and wait with longing eyes their promisd guide. [Elliptical for wait for.]
2. To attend; to accompany with submission or respect.
He chose a thousand horse, the flowr of all his warlike troops, to wait the funeral. [This use is not justifiable, but by poetical license.]
3. To attend as a consequence of something.
Such doom waits luxury--
[Not in use. In this sense we use attend or attend on.]
WAIT, n. Ambush. As a noun, this word is used only in certain phrases. To lie in wait, is to lie in ambush; to be secreted in order to fall by surprise on an enemy; hence figuratively, to lay snares, or to make insidious attempts, or to watch for the purpose of ensnaring. Josh 8.
In wait, is used in a like sense by Milton.
To lay wait, to set an ambush. Jeremiah 9.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: time during which some action is awaited; "instant replay caused too long a delay"; "he ordered a hold in the action" [syn: delay, hold, time lag, postponement, wait]
2: the act of waiting (remaining inactive in one place while expecting something); "the wait was an ordeal for him" [syn: wait, waiting] v
1: stay in one place and anticipate or expect something; "I had to wait on line for an hour to get the tickets"
2: wait before acting; "the scientists held off announcing their results until they repeated the experiment" [syn: wait, hold off, hold back]
3: look forward to the probable occurrence of; "We were expecting a visit from our relatives"; "She is looking to a promotion"; "he is waiting to be drafted" [syn: expect, look, await, wait]
4: serve as a waiter or waitress in a restaurant; "I'm waiting on tables at Maxim's" [syn: wait, waitress]

Merriam Webster's

I. verb Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French waiter, guaiter to watch over, await, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wahta watch, Old English wæccan to watch — more at wake Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. to stay in place in expectation of ; await <waited the result of the advertisement — W. M. Thackeray> <wait your turn> 2. to delay serving (a meal) 3. to serve as waiter for <wait tables> intransitive verb 1. a. to remain stationary in readiness or expectation <wait for a train> b. to pause for another to catch up — usually used with up 2. a. to look forward expectantly <just waiting to see his rival lose> b. to hold back expectantly <waiting for a chance to strike> 3. to serve at meals — usually used in such phrases as wait on tables or wait on table 4. a. to be ready and available <slippers waiting by the bed> b. to remain temporarily neglected or unrealized <the chores can wait> Usage: American dialectologists have evidence showing wait on (sense 3) to be more a Southern than a Northern form in speech. Handbook writers universally denigrate wait on and prescribe wait for in writing. Our evidence from printed sources does not show a regional preference; it does show that the handbooks' advice is not based on current usage <settlement of the big problems still waited on Russia — Time> <I couldn't make out…whether Harper was waiting on me for approval — E. B. White> <the staggering bill that waited on them at the white commissary downtown — Maya Angelou>. One reason for the continuing use of wait on may lie in its being able to suggest protracted or irritating waits better than wait for <for two days I've been waiting on weather — Charles A. Lindbergh> <the boredom of black Africans sitting there, waiting on the whims of a colonial bureaucracy — Vincent Canby> <doesn't care to sit around waiting on a House that's virtually paralyzed — Glenn A. Briere>. Wait on is less common than wait for, but if it seems natural, there is no reason to avoid it. II. noun Etymology: Middle English waite watchman, observation, from Anglo-French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wahta watch Date: 14th century 1. a. a hidden or concealed position — used chiefly in the expression lie in wait b. a state or attitude of watchfulness and expectancy <anchored in wait for early morning fishing — Fred Zimmer> 2. a. one of a band of public musicians in England employed to play for processions or public entertainments b. (1) one of a group who serenade for gratuities especially at the Christmas season (2) a piece of music by such a group 3. an act or period of waiting <a long wait in line>

Oxford Reference Dictionary

v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a defer action or departure for a specified time or until some expected event occurs (wait a minute; wait till I come; wait for a fine day). b be expectant or on the watch (waited to see what would happen). c (foll. by for) refrain from going so fast that (a person) is left behind (wait for me!). 2 tr. await (an opportunity, one's turn, etc.). 3 tr. defer (a meal etc.) until a person's arrival. 4 intr. (usu. as waiting n.) park a vehicle for a short time at the side of a road etc. (no waiting). 5 intr. a (in full wait at or US on table) act as a waiter or as a servant with similar functions. b act as an attendant. 6 intr. (foll. by on, upon) a await the convenience of. b serve as an attendant to. c pay a respectful visit to. --n. 1 a period of waiting (had a long wait for the train). 2 (usu. foll. by for) watching for an enemy; ambush (lie in wait; lay wait). 3 (in pl.) Brit. a archaic street singers of Christmas carols. b hist. official bands of musicians maintained by a city or town. Phrases and idioms: cannot wait 1 is impatient. 2 needs to be dealt with immediately. can wait need not be dealt with immediately. wait-a-bit a plant with hooked thorns etc. that catch the clothing. wait and see await the progress of events. wait for it! colloq. 1 do not begin before the proper moment. 2 used to create an interval of suspense before saying something unexpected or amusing. wait on Austral., NZ, & N.Engl. be patient, wait. wait up (often foll. by for) not go to bed until a person arrives or an event happens. you wait! used to imply a threat, warning, or promise. Etymology: ME f. ONF waitier f. Gmc, rel. to WAKE(1)

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Wait Wait, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Waited; p. pr. & vb. n. Waiting.] [OE. waiten, OF. waitier, gaitier, to watch, attend, F. guetter to watch, to wait for, fr. OHG. wahta a guard, watch, G. wacht, from OHG. wahh[=e]n to watch, be awake. [root]134. See Wake, v. i.] 1. To watch; to observe; to take notice. [Obs.] ``But [unless] ye wait well and be privy, I wot right well, I am but dead,'' quoth she. --Chaucer. 2. To stay or rest in expectation; to stop or remain stationary till the arrival of some person or event; to rest in patience; to stay; not to depart. All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. --Job xiv. 14. They also serve who only stand and wait. --Milton. Haste, my dear father; 't is no time to wait. --Dryden.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Wait Wait, n. [OF. waite, guaite, gaite, F. guet watch, watching, guard, from OHG. wahta. See Wait, v. i.] 1. The act of waiting; a delay; a halt. There is a wait of three hours at the border Mexican town of El Paso. --S. B. Griffin. 2. Ambush. ``An enemy in wait.'' --Milton. 3. One who watches; a watchman. [Obs.] 4. pl. Hautboys, or oboes, played by town musicians; not used in the singular. [Obs.] --Halliwell. 5. pl. Musicians who sing or play at night or in the early morning, especially at Christmas time; serenaders; musical watchmen. [Written formerly wayghtes.] Hark! are the waits abroad? --Beau & Fl. The sound of the waits, rude as may be their minstrelsy, breaks upon the mild watches of a winter night with the effect of perfect harmony. --W. Irving. To lay wait, to prepare an ambuscade. To lie in wait. See under 4th Lie.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Wait Wait, v. t. 1. To stay for; to rest or remain stationary in expectation of; to await; as, to wait orders. Awed with these words, in camps they still abide, And wait with longing looks their promised guide. --Dryden. 2. To attend as a consequence; to follow upon; to accompany; to await. [Obs.] 3. To attend on; to accompany; especially, to attend with ceremony or respect. [Obs.] He chose a thousand horse, the flower of all His warlike troops, to wait the funeral. --Dryden. Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait thee, And everlasting anguish be thy portion. --Rowe. 4. To cause to wait; to defer; to postpone; -- said of a meal; as, to wait dinner. [Colloq.]

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(waits, waiting, waited) Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English. 1. When you wait for something or someone, you spend some time doing very little, because you cannot act until that thing happens or that person arrives. I walk to a street corner and wait for the school bus... Stop waiting for things to happen. Make them happen... I waited to see how she responded... Angus got out of the car to wait... We will have to wait a week or so before we know whether the operation is a success... He told waiting journalists that he did not expect a referendum to be held for several months. VERB: no passive, V for n, V for n to-inf, V to-inf, V, V n, V-ing, also V n for nwaiting The waiting became almost unbearable. N-UNCOUNT 2. A wait is a period of time in which you do very little, before something happens or before you can do something. ...the four-hour wait for the organizers to declare the result. N-COUNT: usu sing 3. If something is waiting for you, it is ready for you to use, have, or do. There'll be a car waiting for you... When we came home we had a meal waiting for us... Ships with unfurled sails wait to take them aboard... VERB: usu cont, V for n, have n V-ing for n, V to-inf 4. If you say that something can wait, you mean that it is not important or urgent and so you will deal with it or do it later. I want to talk to you, but it can wait... Any changes will have to wait until sponsors can be found. VERB: no cont, V, V 5. You can use wait when you are trying to make someone feel excited, or to encourage or threaten them. If you think this all sounds very exciting, just wait until you read the book... As soon as you get some food inside you, you'll feel more cheerful. Just you wait. VERB: only imper, V until cl/n, V 6. Wait is used in expressions such as wait a minute, wait a second, and wait a moment to interrupt someone when they are speaking, for example because you object to what they are saying or because you want them to repeat something. (SPOKEN) 'Wait a minute!' he broke in. 'This is not giving her a fair hearing!' = hold on, hang on VERB: only imper, V n 7. If an employee waits on you, for example in a restaurant or hotel, they take orders from you and bring you what you want. There were plenty of servants to wait on her... Each student is expected to wait at table for one week each semester. VERB: V on n, V at n 8. If you say that you can't wait to do something or can hardly wait to do it, you are emphasizing that you are very excited about it and eager to do it. (SPOKEN) We can't wait to get started... It's gonna be great. I can hardly wait... PHRASE: oft PHR to-inf [emphasis] 9. If you tell someone to wait and see, you tell them that they must be patient or that they must not worry about what is going to happen in the future because they have no control over it. We'll have to wait and see what happens. ...a wait-and-see attitude. PHRASE: oft PHR n, PHR wh

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


1. The Substantive:

The word is used in the Old Testament both as a substantive add as a verb. In the New Testament it appears as a verb only. 'erebh, ma'arabh, mean a concealed hiding-place for purposes of sudden attack, an ambuscade.

(1) "Lie in wait": "Abimelech rose up .... from lying in wait" (Jud 9:35 the King James Version); "When they .... abide in the covert to lie in wait" (Job 38:40).

(2) "Lay wait": "They compassed him in, and laid wait for him" (Jud 16:2).

2. The Verb:

(1) sharath, "to serve," "to minister," to act in the capacity of servant or attendant: "These waited on the king" (2Ch 17:19). Used especially in this sense with regard to the ceremonial service of the host: "They shall go in to wait upon the service in the work of the tent of meeting" (Nu 8:24; compare 8:25); "The Levites wait upon their business" (2Ch 13:10 the King James Version). "Wait at" occurs in the same sense in the New Testament: "They which wait at (the Revised Version (British and American) "wait upon") the altar," etc. (1Co 9:13 the King James Version).

(2) The simple verb is used to describe the longsuffering and patience of God toward His willful people: "And therefore will Yahweh wait, that he may be gracious unto you" (Isa 30:18); "When the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah" (apekdechomai, 1Pe 3:20).

(3) The most important and frequent use of the word "wait," however, is to define the attitude of a soul God-ward. It implies the listening ear, a heart responsive to the wooing of God, a concentration of the spiritual faculties upon heavenly things, the patience of faith, "the earnest expectation of the creation" (Ro 8:19). It describes an eager anticipation and yearning for the revelation of truth and love as it is in the Father. Thus: "My soul, wait thou .... for God only" (Ps 69:5); "Our soul hath waited for Yahweh" (Ps 33:20); "Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God" (Ps 69:3); "Wait for Yahweh, and he will save thee" (Pr 20:22).

Also the New Testament thus: "Waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Ro 8:23); "For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness" (Ga 5:5). From various references in the New Testament there seems to have been in the days of Jesus a sect in whose name the word "wait" played an important part. Of the aged Simeon, who met Mary and Joseph when they brought the infant Jesus to the temple, it is said that he was "waiting for (the Revised Version (British and American) "looking for") the consolation of Israel" (Lu 2:25), that is, he was looking for the fulfillment of the Messianic promise. Again, after our Lord's crucifixion, when Joseph of Arimathea begged for the body of Jesus, we are told that he was one of those that "waited for the kingdom of God" (prosdechomai, Mr 15:43 the King James Version; Lu 23:51 the King James Version). It is thought by some authorities that this implies their having belonged to the sect of the Essenes. Epiphanius associates the sect with one which he names "Gortheni," whose title is derived from a word which means "to expect."

Arthur Walwyn Evans

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

I. v. n. 1. Stay, tarry, delay, remain, linger, bide one's time. 2. Watch, look, be expectant. II. v. a. Await, abide, stay for, wait for, look for. III. n. Ambush.

Moby Thesaurus

abide, administer to, afterthought, attend, attend on, await, ballad singer, balladeer, bard, be patient, bear with composure, bide, bide the issue, bind, block, blockage, bureaucratic delay, care for, carry on, carry through, chore, dally, dance attendance upon, dawdle, delay, delayage, delayed reaction, detention, dillydally, do for, do service to, double take, dragging, drudge, fili, folk singer, folk-rock singer, forbear, gleeman, halt, hang about, hang around, hang-up, help, hindrance, hold everything, hold on, hold your horses, holdup, interim, jam, jongleur, lackey, lag, lagging, linger, logjam, loiter, look after, maid, mark time, minister to, minnesinger, minstrel, moratorium, obstruction, pander to, paperasserie, pause, red tape, red-tapeism, red-tapery, remain, reprieve, respite, retardance, retardation, rhapsode, rhapsodist, scop, serenader, serve, sit tight, sit up, sit up for, slow-up, slowdown, slowness, stay, stay of execution, stay up, stay up for, stick, stick around, stop, stoppage, street singer, strolling minstrel, suspension, sweat, sweat it out, sweat out, take care of, take time, tarry, tend, tie-up, time lag, troubadour, trovatore, upon, valet, wait a minute, wait and see, wait for, wait it out, wait on, wait up for, wandering minstrel, watch, watch and wait, work for


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