English

Definition of wait verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    wait

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//weɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//weɪt//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they wait
    BrE BrE//weɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//weɪt//
     
    he / she / it waits
    BrE BrE//weɪts//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//weɪts//
     
    past simple waited
    BrE BrE//ˈweɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈweɪtɪd//
     
    past participle waited
    BrE BrE//ˈweɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈweɪtɪd//
     
    -ing form waiting
    BrE BrE//ˈweɪtɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈweɪtɪŋ//
     
     
    jump to other results
  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to stay where you are or delay doing something until somebody/something comes or something happens She rang the bell and waited. The President agreed to speak to the waiting journalists. + adv./prep. Have you been waiting long? I’ve been waiting (for) twenty minutes. I'll wait outside until the meeting's over. wait for somebody/something Wait for me! wait for somebody/something to do something We're waiting for the rain to stop before we go out. wait to do something Hurry up! We're waiting to go. wait your turn You'll just have to wait your turn (= wait until your turn comes).
  2. 2  [intransitive, transitive] to hope or watch for something to happen, especially for a long time wait (for something) Leeds United had waited for success for eighteen years. This is just the opportunity I've been waiting for. wait for somebody/something to do something He's waiting for me to make a mistake. wait your chance I waited my chance and slipped out when no one was looking.
  3. 3  be waiting [intransitive] (of things) to be ready for somebody to have or use wait (for somebody) There's a letter waiting for you at home. wait to do something The hotel had a taxi waiting to collect us.
  4. 4  [intransitive] to be left to be dealt with at a later time because it is not urgent I've got some calls to make but they can wait until tomorrow. I'm afraid this can't wait. It's very important.
  5. Word Origin Middle English: from Old Northern French waitier, of Germanic origin; related to the verb wake. Early senses included ‘lie in wait (for)’, ‘observe carefully’, and ‘be watchful’.Extra examples He waited patiently while she got ready. Hey! Wait a minute! I’ll come with you! I can hardly wait for my holiday! I can’t wait to see their new baby. I could hardly wait for the weekend. I had to wait in line at the bank. I waited with bated breath for what would happen next. I’m waiting for a bus. She had to wait a long time for the right man to come along. Their parents waited anxiously for news. They waited in vain for a response. We can’t wait forever. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer. We’ll have to wait until it stops raining. We’ll wait and see what the weather’s like before we make a decision. You might have to wait a while before you get an answer. You’ll have to wait until you’re older. You’ll have to wait your turn. These people all come before you. You’ll just have to wait and see what you present is. He’s waiting for me to make a mistake. Hurry up! We’re waiting to go. I’ll wait outside until the meeting’s over. I’m afraid this can’t wait. It’s very important. I’ve been waiting (for) twenty minutes. I’ve got some calls to make but they can wait until tomorrow. The team had waited for success for eighteen years. This is just the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. We’re waiting for the rain to stop before we go out. You’ll just have to wait your turn.Idioms
    an accident/a disaster waiting to happen
     
    jump to other results
    a thing or person that is very likely to cause danger or a problem in the future because of the condition it is in or the way they behave
    ready to take over a particular job or be used in a particular situation when needed She was aware of a whole host of ambitious young managers waiting in the wings.
    I, they, etc. can’t wait/can hardly wait
     
    jump to other results
     used when you are emphasizing that somebody is very excited about something or keen to do it The children can't wait for Christmas to come. I can hardly wait to see him again.
    to make somebody have to wait or be delayed, especially because you arrive late I'm sorry to have kept you waiting.
    let the dust settle, wait for the dust to settle
     
    jump to other results
    to wait for a situation to become clear or certain He waited for the dust to settle after the election before making any new decisions.
    used to tell somebody that they must be patient and wait to find out about something later We'll just have to wait and see—there's nothing we can do at the moment. a wait-and-see policy ‘Where are we going?’ ‘Wait and see!’ (formal) to serve food to people, for example at a formal meal See related entries: Dining out
      wait for it (informal, especially British English)
       
      jump to other results
    1. 1used to say that you are about to tell somebody something that is surprising or amusing They're off on a trip, to—wait for it—the Maldives!
    2. 2used to tell somebody not to start doing something yet, but to wait until you tell them
      wait a minute/moment/second
       
      jump to other results
    1. 1  to wait for a short time Can you wait a second while I make a call?
    2. 2  used when you have just noticed or remembered something, or had a sudden idea Wait a minute—this isn't the right key.
    wait on somebody hand and foot
     
    jump to other results
    (disapproving) to take care of somebody’s needs so well that they do not have to do anything for themselves He seems to expect me to wait on him hand and foot.
    (North American English) to work serving food to people in a restaurant See related entries: Dining out (informal) used to show that you are very excited about telling or showing something to somebody Wait till you see what I've found!
    what are we waiting for?
     
    jump to other results
    (informal) used to suggest that you should all start doing what you have been discussing
    what are you waiting for?
     
    jump to other results
    (informal) used to tell somebody to do something now rather than later If the car needs cleaning, what are you waiting for?
    used to emphasize a threat, warning or promise I'll be famous one day, just you wait!
    Phrasal Verbswait aboutwait behindwait inwait on somebodywait on somebodywait somethingoutwait upwait up (for somebody)
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: wait