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

  • intransitive v. To move freely back and forth or up and down in the air, as branches in the wind.
  • intransitive v. To make a signal with an up-and-down or back-and-forth movement of the hand or an object held in the hand: waved as she drove by.
  • intransitive v. To have an undulating or wavy form; curve or curl: Her hair waves naturally.
  • transitive v. To cause to move back and forth or up and down, either once or repeatedly: She waved a fan before her face.
  • transitive v. To move or swing as in giving a signal: He waved his hand. See Synonyms at flourish.
  • transitive v. To signal or express by waving the hand or an object held in the hand: We waved goodbye.
  • transitive v. To signal (a person) to move in a specified direction: The police officer waved the motorist into the right lane.
  • transitive v. To arrange into curves, curls, or undulations: wave one's hair.
  • n. A ridge or swell moving through or along the surface of a large body of water.
  • n. A small ridge or swell moving across the interface of two fluids and dependent on surface tension.
  • n. The sea. Often used in the plural: vanished beneath the waves.
  • n. Something that suggests the form and motion of a wave in the sea, especially:
  • n. A moving curve or succession of curves in or on a surface; an undulation: waves of wheat in the wind.
  • n. A curve or succession of curves, as in the hair.
  • n. A curved shape, outline, or pattern.
  • n. A movement up and down or back and forth: a wave of the hand.
  • n. A surge or rush, as of sensation: a wave of nausea; a wave of indignation.
  • n. A sudden great rise, as in activity or intensity: a wave of panic selling on the stock market.
  • n. A rising trend that involves large numbers of individuals: a wave of conservatism.
  • n. One of a succession of mass movements: the first wave of settlers.
  • n. A maneuver in which fans at a sports event simulate an ocean wave by rising quickly in sequence with arms upraised and then quickly sitting down again in a continuous rolling motion.
  • n. A widespread, persistent meteorological condition, especially of temperature: a heat wave.
  • n. Physics A disturbance traveling through a medium by which energy is transferred from one particle of the medium to another without causing any permanent displacement of the medium itself.
  • n. Physics A graphic representation of the variation of such a disturbance with time.
  • n. Physics A single cycle of such a disturbance.
  • wave off To dismiss or refuse by waving the hand or arm: waved off his invitation to join the group.
  • wave off Sports To cancel or nullify by waving the arms, usually from a crossed position: waved off the goal because time had run out.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A moving disturbance in the level of a body of water; an undulation.
  • n. A moving disturbance in the energy level of a field.
  • n. A shape which alternatingly curves in opposite directions.
  • n. A sudden unusually large amount of something that is temporarily experienced.
  • n. A sideway movement of the hand(s).
  • n. A group activity in a crowd imitating a wave going through water, where people in successive parts of the crowd stand and stretch upward, then sit. Usually referred to as "the wave"
  • v. To move back and forth repeatedly.
  • v. To wave one’s hand in greeting or departure.
  • v. To have an undulating or wavy form.
  • v. To produce waves to the hair.
  • v. To swing and miss at a pitch.
  • v. To cause to move back and forth repeatedly.
  • v. To signal (someone or something) with a waving movement.
  • v. Obsolete spelling of waive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An advancing ridge or swell on the surface of a liquid, as of the sea, resulting from the oscillatory motion of the particles composing it when disturbed by any force their position of rest; an undulation.
  • n. A vibration propagated from particle to particle through a body or elastic medium, as in the transmission of sound; an assemblage of vibrating molecules in all phases of a vibration, with no phase repeated; a wave of vibration; an undulation. See Undulation.
  • n. Water; a body of water.
  • n. Unevenness; inequality of surface.
  • n. A waving or undulating motion; a signal made with the hand, a flag, etc.
  • n. The undulating line or streak of luster on cloth watered, or calendered, or on damask steel.
  • n. Something resembling or likened to a water wave, as in rising unusually high, in being of unusual extent, or in progressive motion; a swelling or excitement, as of feeling or energy; a tide; flood; period of intensity, usual activity, or the like.
  • intransitive v. To play loosely; to move like a wave, one way and the other; to float; to flutter; to undulate.
  • intransitive v. To be moved to and fro as a signal.
  • intransitive v. To fluctuate; to waver; to be in an unsettled state; to vacillate.
  • transitive v. See waive.
  • transitive v. To move one way and the other; to brandish.
  • transitive v. To raise into inequalities of surface; to give an undulating form a surface to.
  • transitive v. To move like a wave, or by floating; to waft.
  • transitive v. To call attention to, or give a direction or command to, by a waving motion, as of the hand; to signify by waving; to beckon; to signal; to indicate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To move up and down or to and fro; undulate; fluctuate; bend or sway back and forth; flutter.
  • To have an undulating form or direction; curve alternately in opposite directions.
  • To give a signal by a gesture of movement up and down or to and fro.
  • To waver in mind; vacillate.
  • To move to and fro; cause to shake, rock, or sway; brandish.
  • Specifically To offer as a wave-offering. See wave-offering.
  • To shape or dispose in undulations; cause to wind in and out, as a line in curves, or a surface in ridges and furrows.
  • To decorate with a waving or winding pattern.
  • To signal by a wave of the hand, or of a flag, a handkerchief, or the like; direct by a waving gesture or other movement, as in beckoning.
  • To express, as a command, direction, farewell, etc., by a waving movement or gesture.
  • To water, as silk. See water, v. t., 3.
  • A former spelling of waive.
  • An obsolete preterit of weave.
  • n. A manufacturers' name for a defect in articles of glass, consisting in a slightly protuberant ridge on the surface due to the glass having cooled irregularly and too much before blowing.
  • n. A disturbance of the surface of a body in the form of a ridge and trough, propagated by forces tending to restore the surface to its figure of equilibrium, the particles not advancing with the wave.
  • n. Water; a stream; the sea.
  • n. A form assumed by parts of a body which are out of equilibrium, such that as fast as the particles return they are replaced by others moving into neighboring positions of stress, so that the whole disturbance is continually propagated into new parts of the body while preserving more or less perfectly the same shape and other characters.
  • n. One of a series of curves in a waving line, or of ridges in a furrowed surface; an undulation; a swell.
  • n. Figuratively, a flood, influx, or rush of anything, marked by unusual volume, extent, uprising. etc., and thus contrasted with preceding and following periods of the opposite character; something that swells like a sea-wave at recurring intervals; often, a period of intensity, activity, or important results: as, a wave of religious enthusiasm; waves of prosperity.
  • n. Specifically In meteorology, a progressive oscillation of atmospheric pressure or temperature, or an advancing movement of large extent in which these are considerably above or below the normal: as, an air-wave, barometric wave, cold wave, warm wave, etc.
  • n. A waved or wavy line of color or texture; an undulation; specifically, the undulating line or streak of luster on cloth watered and calendered.
  • n. A waving; a gesture, or a signal given by waving.
  • n. A book-name of certain geometrid moths.
  • n. In general, on sea-coasts, the increased wave-motion accompanying storms.
  • n. =Syn 1. Wave., Billow, Surge, Breaker, Surf, Swell, Ripple. Wave is the general word. A billow is a great round and rolling wave. Surge is only a somewhat stronger word for billow. A breaker is a wave breaking or about to break upon the shore or upon rocks. Surf is the collective name for breakers: as, to bathe in the surf; it is sometimes popularly used for the foam at the edge or crest of the breaker. Swell is the name for the fact of the rising (and falling) of water, especially after the wind has subsided, or for the water that so rises (and falls), or for any particular and occasional disturbance of water by such rising (and falling): as, the boat was swamped by the swell from the steamer. Ripple is the name for the smallest kind of wave.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
  • n. one of a series of ridges that moves across the surface of a liquid (especially across a large body of water)
  • n. a hairdo that creates undulations in the hair
  • n. something that rises rapidly
  • v. set waves in
  • v. move or swing back and forth
  • n. a member of the women's reserve of the United States Navy; originally organized during World War II but now no longer a separate branch
  • v. signal with the hands or nod
  • v. twist or roll into coils or ringlets
  • n. an undulating curve
  • n. a persistent and widespread unusual weather condition (especially of unusual temperatures)
  • n. the act of signaling by a movement of the hand
  • v. move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
  • n. a movement like that of a sudden occurrence or increase in a specified phenomenon


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

Middle English waven, from Old English wafian.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English waven, from Old English wafian ("to wave, fluctuate, waver in mind, wonder"), from Proto-Germanic *wabōnan, *wabjanan (“to wander, sway”), from Proto-Indo-European *webh- (“to move to and from, wander”). Cognate with Middle High German waben ("to wave"), Icelandic váfa ("to fluctuate, waver, doubt"). See also waver.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

See waive.


  • IMPORT:transormers nerrd seriously if he takes another and full of classic transformers and throws them in a desert i will be very upset, completely ignoring their story lines and introducing sound wave was a big mistake because of the first film "TRANSFORMERS"not G-1 pushed frenzy in with out bringing in sound wave_ rewrite the script before you make the film, ask a couple of original TF fans if it works out, not your toilet_anyway all we can do is wait nothing more nothing less OR go to his house with a stack of vhs tapes of the original series and a box of marvel comics,trans formers spotlight comics.

    Michael Bay Has Story And Is Starting Work On Transformers 3 For 2011 Release | /Film

  • But even Wilson, in spite of himself, was caught in the word wave of the moment, introducing in his work such now-familiar made-in-Ancient-Greek ideas as metaphor, allegory, image, and of course rhetorique itself, his Renaissance English for rhetoric.

    The English Is Coming!

  • As you can see it still needs some work – the repetitive sin wave is far too obvious at this scale – but the function is actually very flexible and after some experimentation with values and some more variation I think it will be fine.

    Simplex Noise : KillerCodingNinjaBunny

  • Martha Coakley, the Democrat was 30 points ahead in the early polls, and I don't think that she saw the title wave of discontent that was coming, that Scott Brown, the Republican is riding so effectively.

    CNN Transcript Jan 19, 2010

  • As a narrative idea, Roth's latest brain wave is down there with the one animating The Breast (1972) — perhaps even lower, because at least the Breast had Kafka's cockroach for a predecessor.


  • The motion of the surface of the sea falls within that formula, and hence is a special variety of wave motion, and the term wave has acquired in popular use this signification and nothing else.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 275, April 9, 1881

  • • To summarize, the term wave implies three general notions: vibrations in time, disturbances in space, and moving disturbances in space-time associated with the transfer / transformation of energy.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows

  • GINGRICH: If we had Mayor Giuliani for governor and we had Governor Pataki for senator we would be a large step toward the title wave which would make 2010 comparable to 1994.

    WNYC New York Public Radio

  • Sen. Jim DeMint R-S.C. stood with his House colleagues in a news release issued by the committee, against what he called the wave of wasteful Washington spending.

    Federal workforce budget cuts would mean customer service cuts for taxpayers

  • And I have a strong suspicion that James Cameron's next one will create a new wave of smart SF - though with Moon and District 9, the wave is already starting.

    MIND MELD: The Most Intelligent Films of Science Fiction


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "21. A book-name of certain geometrid moths. Thus, Acidalia rubricata is the tawny wave; A. contiguaria is Greening's wave; Venusia cambraria is the Welsh wave, etc."

    --Century Dictionary

    March 3, 2011

  • Wordie has that effect on people.

    May 1, 2009

  • Why was I looking for awful surfer slang a year ago? *shakes head*

    Sometimes I feel like an extra in the movie of my life.

    April 25, 2009

  • Hi michaelchang, thanks. I'm looking for the wave, man, as much as the action. Pipeline vibe, you dig?

    December 22, 2007

  • Hi Bilby here's a haiku about surfing i wrote for a client last year.

    in love by the pond

    A frog on a lily pad

    is aqua planning

    December 22, 2007

  • I'm looking for some awful surfer slang for wave for a little project I'm doing. I'm aware of tube but any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    December 22, 2007