From Middle English waven, from Old English wafian (“to wave, fluctuate, waver in mind, wonder”), from Proto-Germanic *wabōną, *wabjaną (“to wander, sway”), from Proto-Indo-European *webʰ- (“to move to and from, wander”). Cognate with Middle High German waben (“to wave”), German wabern (“to waft”), Icelandic váfa (“to fluctuate, waver, doubt”). See also waver.
- (intransitive) To move back and forth repeatedly and somewhat loosely.
- The flag waved in the gentle breeze.
- 2011 October 1, Tom Fordyce, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 16-12 Scotland”, in BBC Sport:
- But the World Cup winning veteran's left boot was awry again, the attempt sliced horribly wide of the left upright, and the saltires were waving aloft again a moment later when a long pass in the England midfield was picked off to almost offer up a breakaway try.
- (intransitive) To move one’s hand back and forth (generally above the head) in greeting or departure.
- (transitive, metonymically) To call attention to, or give a direction or command to, by a waving motion, as of the hand; to signify by waving; to beckon; to signal; to indicate.
- c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iv]:
- Look, with what courteous action / It waves you to a more removed ground.
- (Can we date this quote by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
- She spoke, and bowing waved / Dismissal.
- I waved goodbye from across the room.
- (intransitive) To have an undulating or wavy form.
- (transitive) To raise into inequalities of surface; to give an undulating form or surface to.
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene vi]:
- horns whelked and waved like the enridged sea
- (transitive) To produce waves to the hair.
- There was also hairdressing: hairdressing, too, really was hairdressing in those times — no running a comb through it and that was that. It was curled, frizzed, waved, put in curlers overnight, waved with hot tongs; […].
- (intransitive, baseball) To swing and miss at a pitch.
- Jones waves at strike one.
- (transitive) To cause to move back and forth repeatedly.
- The starter waved the flag to begin the race.
- (transitive, metonymically) To signal (someone or something) with a waving movement.
- (intransitive, obsolete) To fluctuate; to waver; to be in an unsettled state.
- c. 1608–1609, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii]:
- He waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good nor harm.
- (intransitive, ergative) To move like a wave, or by floating; to waft.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Thomas Browne to this entry?)
From Middle English *wave, partially from waven (“to fluctuate, wave”) (see above) and partially from Middle English wawe, waghe (“wave”), from Old English wǣg (“a wave, billow, motion, water, flood, sea”), from Proto-Germanic *wēgaz (“motion, storm, wave”), from Proto-Indo-European *weǵʰ- (“to drag, carry”). Cognate with North Frisian weage (“wave, flood, sea”), German Woge (“wave”), French vague (“wave”) (from Germanic), Gothic 𐍅𐌴𐌲𐍃 (wēgs, “a wave”). See also waw.
wave (plural waves)
- A moving disturbance in the level of a body of liquid; an undulation.
- The wave traveled from the center of the lake before breaking on the shore.
- (physics) A moving disturbance in the energy level of a field.
- A shape that alternatingly curves in opposite directions.
- Her hair had a nice wave to it.
- sine wave
- Any of a number of species of moths in the geometrid subfamily Sterrhinae, which have wavy markings on the wings.
- A loose back-and-forth movement, as of the hands.
- He dismissed her with a wave of the hand.
- (figuratively) A sudden unusually large amount of something that is temporarily experienced.
- Synonym: rush
- A wave of shoppers stampeded through the door when the store opened for its Christmas discount special.
- A wave of retirees began moving to the coastal area.
- A wave of emotion overcame her when she thought about her son who was killed in battle.
- 2011 January 11, Jonathan Stevenson, “West Ham 2 - 1 Birmingham”, in BBC:
- Foster had been left unsighted by Scott Dann's positioning at his post, but the goalkeeper was about to prove his worth to Birmingham by keeping them in the game with a series of stunning saves as West Ham produced waves after wave of attack in their bid to find a crucial second goal.
- (video games, by extension) One of the successive swarms of enemies sent to attack the player in certain games.
- As the player eliminates each wave of 55 aliens, the next wave begins lower than the one previous.
- (usually "the wave") A group activity in a crowd imitating a wave going through water, where people in successive parts of the crowd stand and stretch upward, then sit.
- longwave, long wave
- mediumwave, medium wave
- shortwave, short wave
- cosine wave
- electromagnetic wave
- Elliott wave
- episodic wave
- gamma wave
- gravitational wave
- gravity-inertia wave
- harmonic wave
- incident wave
- Kelvin wave
- light wave
- longitudinal wave
- magnetic wave
- mechanical wave
- metachronal wave
- Mexican wave
- modulated wave
- new wave
- ocean wave
- plane wave
- radio wave
- rogue wave
- sea wave
- seismic wave
- shock wave
- sine wave
- sinusoidal wave
- sound wave
- standing wave
- transverse wave
- wind wave
- first-wave feminism
- fourth-wave feminism
- Gaussian wave packet
- make waves
- matter waves
- no wave
- second-wave feminism
- third-wave feminism
- wave equation
- wave field synthesis
- wave form
- wave function
- wave mechanics
- wave motion
- wave node
- wave number
- wave packet
- wave-particle duality
- wave reflection
- wave ski
- wave theory
- wave train
- wave vector
- Obsolete spelling of
- Alternative form of