American English

Definition of wave noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    of water
  1. 1[countable] a raised line of water that moves across the surface of the ocean, etc. Huge waves were breaking on the shore. Surfers flocked to the beach to ride the waves. the gentle sound of waves lapping Children were playing in the waves. Seagulls bobbed on the waves. The wind made little waves on the pond. see also tidal wave
  2. of activity/feeling
  3. 2[countable] a sudden increase in a particular activity or feeling a wave of opposition/protest/violence, etc. a crime wave There has been a new wave of bombings since the peace talks broke down. A wave of fear swept over him. Guilt and horror flooded her in waves. Three hundred employees lost their jobs in the latest wave of firings. A wave of panic spread through the crowd. see also brainwave, heat wave
  4. large number
  5. 3[countable] a large number of people or things suddenly moving or appearing somewhere Wave after wave of aircraft passed overhead. see also new wave
  6. movement of arm/hand/body
  7. 4[countable] a movement of your arm and hand from side to side She declined the offer with a wave of her hand. With a wave and a shout he ran down the road to meet us. He gave us a wave as the bus drove off.
  8. 5the wave [singular] a continuous movement that looks like a wave on the ocean, made by a large group of people, especially people watching a sports game, when one person after another stands up, raises their arms, and then sits down again
  9. of heat/sound/light
  10. 6[countable] the form that some types of energy such as heat, sound, light, etc. take as they move radio/sound/ultrasonic waves see also airwaves, long wave, medium wave, microwave, shock wave, shortwave, sound wave
  11. in hair
  12. 7[countable] if a person's hair has a wave or waves, it is not straight, but curls slightly see also permanent wave, wavy
  13. sea
  14. 8the waves [plural] (literary) the ocean life on the waves (= life at sea)
  15. Idioms
    the crest of a/the wave
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    a situation in which someone is very successful, happy, etc. They've been on the crest of the wave ever since their election victory.
    make waves (informal)
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    to be very active in a way that makes people notice you, and that may sometimes cause problems
    ride a/the wave of something
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    to enjoy or be supported by the particular situation or quality mentioned Schools are riding a wave of renewed public interest.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: wave