Alternative forms Edit
- (obsolete) waight
From Middle English waiten, wayten, from Old Northern French waiter, waitier (compare French guetter from Old French gaitier, guaitier), from Frankish *wahtwēn (“to watch, guard”), derivative of Frankish *wahtu (“guard, watch”), from Proto-Germanic *wahtwō (“guard, watch”), from Proto-Indo-European *weǵ- (“to be fresh, cheerful, awake”). Cognate with Old High German wahtēn (“to watch, guard”), German Low German wachten (“to wait”), Dutch wachten (“to wait, expect”), French guetter (“to watch out for”), Saterland Frisian wachtje (“to wait”), West Frisian wachtsje (“to wait”), North Frisian wachtjen (“to stand, stay put”). More at watch.
- IPA(key): /weɪt/
- (General American) IPA(key): /weɪt/, [weɪ̯ʔt]
Audio (US) (file) Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪt
- Homophone: weight
- (transitive, now rare) To delay movement or action until the arrival or occurrence of; to await. (Now generally superseded by “wait for”.)
- to wait one’s turn
- 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial, published 2007, page 30:
- The Court had assembled, to wait events, in the huge antechamber known as the Œil de Boeuf.
- (intransitive) To delay movement or action until some event or time; to remain neglected or in readiness.
- Wait here until your car arrives.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC, page 46:
- No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or otherwise his man would be there with a message to say that his master would shortly join me if I would kindly wait.
- 1948 March and April, “Notes and News: London Transport Plans”, in Railway Magazine, page 132:
- The South London tramway replacement will have to wait, possibly five years, because of the slowing down of bus manufacture due to national requirements.
- (intransitive, stative, US) To wait tables; to serve customers in a restaurant or other eating establishment.
- She used to wait in this joint.
- (transitive, obsolete) To attend on; to accompany; especially, to attend with ceremony or respect.
- 1714, Nicholas Rowe, The Tragedy of Jane Shore:
- Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait thee, / And everlasting anguish be thy portion.
- (obsolete) To attend as a consequence; to follow upon; to accompany.
- (obsolete, colloquial) To defer or postpone (especially a meal).
- 1791, Charlotte Smith, Celestina, Broadview, published 2004, page 185:
- Montague Thorold, who impatiently watched her wherever she went, came to tell her that his mother waited breakfast for her.
- (obsolete, except in phrases) To watch with malicious intent; to lie in wait
- (intransitive) To remain faithful to one’s partner or betrothed during a prolonged period of absence.
- 1957, Dagny Taggart, Francisco d'Anconia, Ayn Rand's, Atlas Shrugged:
- She did not question him. Before leaving, she asked only, "When will I see you again?" He answered, "I don't know. Don't wait for me, Dagny. Next time we meet, you will not want to see me."
Usage notes Edit
- In sense 1, this is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs
- (delay until): await, wait for; See also Thesaurus:wait for
- (delay until some event): hold one's breath; See also Thesaurus:wait
- (serve customers): wait on, wait upon, serve
- (attend with ceremony or respect): bestand, serve, tend; See also Thesaurus:serve
- (attend as a consequence): attend, escort, go with
- (defer or postpone): defer, postpone; See also Thesaurus:procrastinate
- (remain celibate):
Derived terms Edit
wait (plural waits)
- A delay.
- I had a very long wait at the airport security check.
- An ambush.
- They lay in wait for the patrol.
- (computing) Short for .
- (obsolete) One who watches; a watchman.
- (in the plural, obsolete, UK) Hautboys, or oboes, played by town musicians.
- (in the plural, UK) Musicians who sing or play at night or in the early morning, especially at Christmas time; serenaders; musical watchmen. [formerly waites, wayghtes.]
- 1819-1820, Washington Irving, The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon
- 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.
Related terms Edit
- (informal) Tells the other speaker to stop talking, typing etc. for a moment.
- Wait. Stop talking for a moment while I get my head straight.
Derived terms Edit
- Romanization of
Tok Pisin Edit