Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old North French
Origin: waitier 'to watch'


1 verb
wait1 S1 W1

not go/start something

[intransitive] to stay somewhere or not do something until something else happens, someone arrives etc:
Hurry up! Everyone's waiting.
Would you mind waiting outside?
wait for
a queue of people waiting for a bus
Wait for me!
wait for somebody/something to do something
She paused, waiting for Myles to say something.
I sat waiting patiently for the wedding to end.
wait until/till
I'll wait till you come back.
wait (for) 3 hours/2 weeks etc
Can you wait for five minutes?
We've been waiting ages.
wait to do something
Are you waiting to use the phone?
keep somebody waiting (=make someone wait, especially by arriving late)
I'm sorry to have kept you waiting.

something has not happened

[intransitive] if you are waiting for something that you expect or hope will happen or arrive, it has not happened or arrived yet:
'Have you heard about the job?' 'No, I'm still waiting.'
wait for
I'm still waiting for my results.
wait for somebody/something to do something
I'm waiting for him to realize how stupid he's been.

wait a minute/second/moment etc

a) used to ask someone not to leave or start doing something immediately:
Wait a second, I'll get my coat and come with you.
Wait a moment, just let me think.
b) used to interrupt someone, especially because you do not agree with what they are saying:
Wait a minute! That's not what we agreed!
c) used when you suddenly think of, remember, or notice something:
Wait a minute, I've got a better idea.

somebody can't wait/can hardly wait

a) used to emphasize that someone is very excited about something and is eager for it to happen:
We're going to Australia on Saturday - I can't wait!
can't wait to do something
I can't wait to tell Gloria the good news.
Laura could hardly wait to see the twins again.
somebody can't wait/can hardly wait for
I can't wait for the summer.
b) used humorously to say that something seems likely to be very boring:
A lecture on transformational grammar? I can hardly wait!

something can/can't wait

spoken if something can wait, it is not very urgent. If something can't wait, it is very urgent:
Go home. The report can wait till tomorrow.

wait and see

spoken used to say that someone should be patient because they will find out about something later:
'What's for dinner?' 'Wait and see.'
We will just have to wait and see how things develop.

wait until/till ...

spoken used when you are excited about telling or showing someone something:
Wait till you see Gaby's new house!

be waiting (for somebody)

if something is waiting for you, it is ready for you to use, collect etc:
There'll be a rental car waiting for you at the airport.
Come round at eight and I'll have dinner waiting.

wait your turn

to stay calm until it is your turn to do something, instead of trying to move ahead of other people:
I've got two hands and there are three of you. So you'll have to wait your turn!

something is (well) worth waiting for

spoken used to say that something is very good, even though it takes a long time to come:
Their new album was worth waiting for.

(just) you wait

a) British English used to warn or threaten someone:
I'll get you back for what you've done, just you wait.
b) used to tell someone you are sure something will happen:
It'll be a huge success. Just you wait.

what are you waiting for?

spoken used to tell someone to do something immediately:
Well, what are you waiting for? Go and apologize.

what are we waiting for?

spoken used to say in a cheerful way that you think everyone should start doing something immediately:
What are we waiting for? Let's go eat.

wait for it

British English spoken
a) used just before you tell someone something that is funny or surprising:
His name was - wait for it - Mr Bacon.
b) used to tell someone not to do something until the correct time because they seem very impatient to do it now

be waiting in the wings

to be ready to do something if it is necessary or if a suitable time comes:
Other firms are waiting in the wings, ready to step in and make an offer should the current deal fall through.

wait tables

American EnglishDF to work in a restaurant serving food and drink to people at their tables:
I spent the summer waiting tables.

(play) a/the waiting game

if you play a waiting game, you try to gain an advantage for yourself in a particular situation by deliberately doing nothing until you have seen what other people do

wait around

phrasal verb
to stay in the same place and do nothing while you are waiting for something to happen, someone to arrive etc:
Movie-making involves acting for 10 minutes and then waiting around for two hours.
We'd better be going. We can't wait about like this any longer.

wait behind

phrasal verb
to stay somewhere after other people have left:
She waited behind to help Debbie with the clearing up.

wait in

phrasal verb
to stay at home and wait there for someone to arrive:
I have to wait in for the repair man.

wait on somebody/something

phrasal verb
1DF to serve food and drink to someone at their table, especially in a restaurant
2 to wait for a particular event, piece of information etc, especially before doing something or making a decision:
We're waiting on the blood test results.

wait on somebody hand and foot

to do everything for someone while they do nothing - used to show disapproval:
His wife waits on him hand and foot.

wait something ↔ out

phrasal verb
if you wait out an event, period, or time, especially an unpleasant one, you wait for it to finish:
Let's find a place where we can wait out the storm.

wait up

phrasal verb
1 to wait for someone to return before you go to bed
wait up for
Don't wait up for me; I may be late.

Wait up!

American English used to tell someone to stop, so that you can talk to them or go with them:
'Wait up!' he called.

wait, expect, look forward to, await
Wait means to stay somewhere or not do something until something comes, happens etc I'm waiting to hear from Dan before I arrange my trip.Expect means to believe that something will come, happen etc The police are expecting (NOT waiting) trouble.Look forward to means to be excited and pleased about something that is going to happen I'm looking forward to getting his letter.!! Wait is never followed directly by a noun. You must say wait for She was waiting for a bus (NOT waiting a bus). In formal English, you can use await, which is followed directly by a noun We are awaiting your instructions.

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