to remain in a place and not do anything until something expected happens: [no object]We waited until the bus came.[no object; (~ + for + object)]We've been waiting for the bus.[~ + object + for + object]We waited a week for your letter.[~ + to + verb]We waited to see you.
to be available or in readiness:[no object]A letter is waiting for you on your desk.
to remain neglected for a time:[not: be + ~-ing; no object]That matter can wait until later.
[no object] to (cause to) be postponed or delayed:Your vacation will have to wait until next spring.[~ + object]to wait a week.
to look forward to eagerly:[~ + for + object]to wait for a chance to get even.
wait on,[~ + on + object]
to serve food or drink to.
to attend to the needs of (a customer):Is someone waiting on you?
to be a servant for.
[Informal.]to wait for; await.
wait out,[~ + out + object] to postpone or delay action until the end of:We decided to wait out the storm.
wait up,[no object] to postpone going to bed in order to await someone's arrival.
to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens (often fol. by for, till, or until):to wait for the bus to arrive.
(of things) to be available or in readiness:A letter is waiting for you.
to remain neglected for a time:a matter that can wait.
to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed:We waited a week and then bought the house. Your vacation will have to wait until next month.
to look forward to eagerly:I'm just waiting for the day somebody knocks him down.
to continue as one is in expectation of; await:to wait one's turn at a telephone booth.
to postpone or delay in expectation:Don't wait supper for me.
[Archaic.](of things) to be in readiness for; be reserved for; await:Glory waits thee.
[Archaic.]to attend upon or escort, esp. as a sign of respect.
to perform the duties of an attendant or servant for.
to supply the wants of a person, as serving a meal or serving a customer in a store.
to call upon or visit (a person, esp. a superior):to wait on Her Majesty at the palace.
Sport[Falconry.](of a hawk) to soar over ground until prey appears.
Dialect Terms[Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.]to wait for (a person); await.
Also, wait upon. to await (an event).
wait table. See table (def. 21).
to postpone going to bed to await someone's arrival.
Informal Termsto halt and wait for another to join one, as in running or walking:Wait up, I can't walk so fast.
an act or instance of waiting or awaiting; delay; halt:a wait at the border.
a period or interval of waiting:There will be a long wait between trains.
the time between two acts, scenes, or the like.
See stage wait.
waits, (formerly) a band of musicians employed by a city or town to play music in parades, for official functions, etc.
a street musician, esp. a singer.
one of a band of carolers.
a piece sung by carolers, esp. a Christmas carol.
lie in wait, to wait in ambush:The army lay in wait in the forest.
Anglo-French derivative of waitier
Gmc; cognate with Old High German wahtēn to watch, derivative of wahta a watch (see wake1); (noun, nominal) late Middle English
Anglo-French waitier; Old French guaitier
(verb, verbal) early Middle English waiten 1150–1200
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged await, linger, abide, delay. Wait,tarry imply pausing to linger and thereby putting off further activity until later. Wait usually implies staying for a limited time and for a definite purpose, that is, for something expected:to wait for a train.Tarry is a somewhat archaic word for wait, but it suggests lingering, perhaps aimlessly delaying, or pausing (briefly) in a journey:to tarry on the way home; to tarry overnight at an inn.
10. e, f. Sometimes considered objectionable in standard usage, the idiom waiton meaning "to wait for, to await (a person)'' is largely confined to speech or written representations of speech. It is most common in the Midland and Southern United States:Let's not wait on Rachel, she's always late.Waiton or upon (an event) does not have a regional pattern and occurs in a wide variety of contexts:We will wait on(or upon) his answer and make our decision then. The completion of the merger waits upon news of a drop in interest rates.