from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To remain or rest in expectation: synonym: stay.
  • intransitive verb To stay in one place until another catches up.
  • intransitive verb To remain or be in readiness.
  • intransitive verb To remain temporarily neglected, unattended to, or postponed.
  • intransitive verb To work as a waiter or waitress.
  • intransitive verb To remain or stay in expectation of; await.
  • intransitive verb Informal To delay (a meal or an event); postpone.
  • intransitive verb To be a waiter or waitress at.
  • noun The act of waiting or the time spent waiting.
  • noun One of a group of musicians employed, usually by a city, to play in parades or public ceremonies.
  • noun One of a group of musicians or carolers who perform in the streets at Christmastime.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun l. A watchman; a guard; also, a spy.
  • noun One of a body of musicians, especially in the seventeenth century in England.
  • noun An old variety of hautboy or shawm: so called because much used by the waits.
  • noun The act of watching; watchfulness.
  • noun An ambush; a trap; a plot: obsolete except in the phrase to lie in wait.
  • noun The act of waiting: as, a wait for the train at a station.
  • noun Time occupied in waiting; delay; an interval of waiting; specifically, in theatrical language, the time between two acts. Compare stage-wait.
  • To watch; be on the watch; lie in wait; look out.
  • To look forward to something; be in expectation: often with for.
  • To stay or rest in patience or expectation; remain in a state of quiescence or inaction, as till the arrival of some person or event, or till the proper moment or favorable opportunity for action: often with for.
  • To remain in readiness to execute orders; be ready to serve; be in waiting; perform the duties of an attendant or a servant; hence, to serve; supply the wants of persons at table.
  • To look at; look toward.
  • To lie in wait for.
  • To expect; look for.
  • To attend to; perform, as a duty.
  • To be ready to serve; do the bidding of.
  • To attend upon as a servant; act as attendant to; be in the service of.
  • To go to see; call upon; visit; attend.
  • To escort; accompany; attend; specifically, to attend as bridesmaid or groomsman.
  • To attend or follow as a consequence; be associated with; accompany.
  • To observe; examine; take notice of; expect; watch for; look out for.
  • To plan; scheme; contrive.
  • To seek.
  • To stay for; attend; await; expect.
  • To defer; put off; keep waiting: said of a meal.
  • To attend upon; accompany; escort.
  • To follow as a consequence of something; attend upon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To watch; to observe; to take notice.
  • intransitive verb To stay or rest in expectation; to stop or remain stationary till the arrival of some person or event; to rest in patience; to stay; not to depart.
  • intransitive verb [R.], (Falconry) To fly above its master, waiting till game is sprung; -- said of a hawk.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English waiten, from Old North French waitier, to watch, of Germanic origin; see weg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English waiten, wayten, from Old Northern French waiter, waitier (compare French guetter from Old French gaiter, guaitier), from Old Frankish *wahtōn, *wahtjan (“to watch, guard”), derivative of *wahta ("guard, watch"), from Proto-Germanic *wahtwō (“guard, watch”), from Proto-Indo-European *weǵ- (“to be fresh, cheerful, awake”). Cognate with Old High German wahtēn ("to watch, guard"), Dutch wachten ("to wait, expect"), French guetter ("to watch out for"), North Frisian wachtjen ("to stand, stay put"). More at watch.


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