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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 wax and wanes, present participle wax and waneing, simple past and past participle wax and waneed)

  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.