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From the old descriptions of the phases of the Moon (about 14th century).


wax and wane (third-person singular simple present waxes and wanes, present participle waxing and waning, simple past and past participle waxed and waned)

  1. To progress through phases.
  2. Alternating.
    The manifestation of such philosophy seemed to wax and wane, being the most common one time, but virtually without followers at another, apparently disappearing.