wait


wait
/wayt/, v.i.
1. to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens (often fol. by for, till, or until): to wait for the bus to arrive.
2. (of things) to be available or in readiness: A letter is waiting for you.
3. to remain neglected for a time: a matter that can wait.
4. to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed: We waited a week and then bought the house. Your vacation will have to wait until next month.
5. to look forward to eagerly: I'm just waiting for the day somebody knocks him down.
v.t.
6. to continue as one is in expectation of; await: to wait one's turn at a telephone booth.
7. to postpone or delay in expectation: Don't wait supper for me.
8. Archaic. (of things) to be in readiness for; be reserved for; await: Glory waits thee.
9. Archaic. to attend upon or escort, esp. as a sign of respect.
10. wait on,
a. to perform the duties of an attendant or servant for.
b. to supply the wants of a person, as serving a meal or serving a customer in a store.
c. to call upon or visit (a person, esp. a superior): to wait on Her Majesty at the palace.
d. Falconry. (of a hawk) to soar over ground until prey appears.
e. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. to wait for (a person); await.
f. Also, wait upon. to await (an event).
11. wait table. See table (def. 21).
12. wait up,
a. to postpone going to bed to await someone's arrival.
b. Informal. to halt and wait for another to join one, as in running or walking: Wait up, I can't walk so fast.
n.
13. an act or instance of waiting or awaiting; delay; halt: a wait at the border.
14. a period or interval of waiting: There will be a long wait between trains.
15. Theat.
a. the time between two acts, scenes, or the like.
b. See stage wait.
16. Brit.
a. waits, (formerly) a band of musicians employed by a city or town to play music in parades, for official functions, etc.
b. a street musician, esp. a singer.
c. one of a band of carolers.
d. a piece sung by carolers, esp. a Christmas carol.
17. Obs. a watchman.
18. lie in wait, to wait in ambush: The army lay in wait in the forest.
[1150-1200; (v.) early ME waiten < AF waitier; OF guaitier < Gmc; c. OHG wahten to watch, deriv. of wahta a watch (see WAKE1); (n.) late ME < AF deriv. of waitier]
Syn. 1. await, linger, abide, delay. WAIT, TARRY imply pausing to linger and thereby putting off further activity until later. WAIT usually implies staying for a limited time and for a definite purpose, that is, for something expected: to wait for a train. TARRY is a somewhat archaic word for WAIT, but it suggests lingering, perhaps aimlessly delaying, or pausing (briefly) in a journey: to tarry on the way home; to tarry overnight at an inn.
Usage. 10e, 10f. Sometimes considered objectionable in standard usage, the idiom WAIT ON meaning "to wait for, to await (a person)" is largely confined to speech or written representations of speech. It is most common in the Midland and Southern United States: Let's not wait on Rachel, she's always late. WAIT ON or UPON (an event) does not have a regional pattern and occurs in a wide variety of contexts: We will wait on (or upon) his answer and make our decision then. The completion of the merger waits upon news of a drop in interest rates.

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▪ town watchman
      an English town watchman or public musician who sounded the hours of the night. In the later Middle Ages the waits were night watchmen, who sounded horns or even played tunes to mark the hours. In the 15th and 16th centuries waits developed into bands of itinerant musicians who paraded the streets at night at Christmas time. From the early 16th century, London and all the chief boroughs had their corporation waits.

      In the 18th and early 19th centuries the custom developed of these ordinary street watchmen serenading householders at Christmas time and calling on the day after Christmas Day to receive a gratuity. When, in 1829, their place as guardians of a city's safety was taken over by the police, private individuals kept up the custom, playing and singing suitable Christmas music.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Wait — Wait, n. [OF. waite, guaite, gaite, F. guet watch, watching, guard, from OHG. wahta. See {Wait}, v. i.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of waiting; a delay; a halt. [1913 Webster] There is a wait of three hours at the border Mexican town of El Paso. S …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Wait — (англ. ждать, подожди) может означать: В искусстве Wait  одна из песен группы «Битлз» с альбома «Rubber Soul»; Wait  песня и одноимённый сингл группы «Wang Chung». Wait песня и одноимённый сингл группы «White Lion» из альбома… …   Википедия

  • wait — ► VERB 1) stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or event. 2) be delayed or deferred. 3) (wait on/upon) act as an attendant to. 4) act as a waiter or waitress. ► NOUN 1) a period of waiting. 2) …   English terms dictionary

  • wait up — wait for me, wait until I catch up    Danny, wait up. I want to talk to you …   English idioms

  • wait on — (someone) to serve someone. She waited on customers all day at the department store. He sits there in front of the TV and expects me to wait on him! Related vocabulary: wait on someone hand and foot …   New idioms dictionary


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