See also: wäit



 Wait (disambiguation) on Wikipedia


Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English waiten, wayten, from Old Northern French waiter, waitier (compare French guetter from Old French gaitier, guaitier), from Old Frankish *wahtōn, *wahtijan ‎(to watch, guard), derivative of *wahta ‎(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), North Frisian wachtjen ‎(to stand, stay put). More at watch.



wait ‎(third-person singular simple present waits, present participle waiting, simple past and past participle waited)

  1. (transitive, now rare) To delay movement or action until the arrival or occurrence of; to await. (Now generally superseded by “wait for”.)
    • Dryden
      Awed with these words, in camps they still abide, / And wait with longing looks their promised guide.
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, page 30:
      The Court had assembled, to wait events, in the huge antechamber known as the Œil de Boeuf.
  2. (intransitive) To delay movement or action until some event or time; to remain neglected or in readiness.
    • John Milton
      They also serve who only stand and wait.
    • John Dryden
      Haste, my dear father; 'tis no time to wait.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      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.
    Wait here until your car arrives.
  3. (intransitive, US) To wait tables; to serve customers in a restaurant or other eating establishment.
    She used to wait down at the Dew Drop Inn.
  4. (obsolete) To attend on; to accompany; especially, to attend with ceremony or respect.
    • Dryden
      He chose a thousand horse, the flower of all / His warlike troops, to wait the funeral.
    • Rowe
      Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait thee, / And everlasting anguish be thy portion.
  5. (obsolete) To attend as a consequence; to follow upon; to accompany.
  6. (obsolete) To defer or postpone (a meal).
    to wait dinner

Usage notesEdit


Derived termsEdit



wait ‎(plural waits)

  1. A delay.
    I had a very long wait at the airport security check.
  2. An ambush.
    They laid in wait for the patrol.
    • Milton
      an enemy in wait
  3. (obsolete) One who watches; a watchman.
  4. (in the plural, obsolete, Britain) Hautboys, or oboes, played by town musicians.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)
  5. (in the plural, archaic, Britain) Musicians who sing or play at night or in the early morning, especially at Christmas time; serenaders; musical watchmen. [formerly waites, wayghtes.]
    • (Can we date this quote?) Beaumont and Fletcher
      Hark! are the waits abroad?
    • (Can we date this quote?) Washington Irving
      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 termsEdit


Most common English words before 1923: sitting · Christ · begin · #789: wait · laughed · opportunity · lines




From Old Norse hvítr, from Proto-Germanic *hwītaz. Cognate with Swedish vit.



  1. white




  1. Romanization of 𐍅𐌰𐌹𐍄

Tok PisinEdit


From English white.



  1. white
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