Definitions

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

  • noun A fit of anger.
  • noun Any of various natural, oily or greasy heat-sensitive substances, consisting of hydrocarbons or esters of fatty acids that are insoluble in water but soluble in nonpolar organic solvents.
  • noun Beeswax.
  • noun Earwax.
  • noun A solid plastic or pliable liquid substance, such as ozocerite or paraffin, originating from petroleum and found in rock layers and used in paper coating, as insulation, in crayons, and often in medicinal preparations.
  • noun A preparation containing wax used for polishing floors and other surfaces.
  • noun A resinous mixture used by shoemakers to rub on thread.
  • noun A cosmetic procedure in which facial or body hair is removed by peeling away a layer of wax that has been allowed to harden.
  • adjective Made of wax.
  • transitive verb To coat, treat, or polish with wax.
  • transitive verb To remove (facial or body hair) by covering the skin with a layer of wax that is peeled off after hardening, uprooting the encased hairs.
  • transitive verb To remove hair from (a portion of the body) by this method.
  • idiom Informal (on wax) In the medium of phonograph recordings.
  • intransitive verb To increase gradually in size, number, strength, or intensity.
  • intransitive verb To show a progressively larger illuminated area, as the moon does in passing from new to full.
  • intransitive verb To grow or become as specified.
  • intransitive verb To speak or write as specified.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To beat; thrash.
  • To grow; increase in size; become larger or greater: as, the moon waxes and wanes.
  • To pass from one state to another; become; grow: as, to wax strong; to wax old.
  • noun Black sealing-wax.
  • noun A local name in Texas for sticky clay containing much black-colored humus.
  • noun Growth; increase; prosperity.
  • noun A wood.
  • To treat with wax; smear or rub with wax; make waxy: as, to wax a thread; to wax the floor or a piece of furniture.
  • To plaster with clay.
  • noun A rage; a passion.
  • noun A thick, sticky substance secreted by bees, and used to build their cells; the material of honeycomb; beeswax.
  • noun One of various substances and products resembling beeswax in appearance, consistency, plasticity, and the like, or used for like purposes.
  • noun A thick resinous substance, consisting of pitch, resin, and tallow, used by shoemakers for rubbing their thread.
  • noun A thick syrup produced by boiling down the sap of the sugar-maple tree, cooling on ice, etc.
  • noun Dung of cattle.
  • noun In coal-mining, puddled clay, used for dams and stoppings.
  • noun Chinese wax, or pela. (See also banking-wax, bottle-wax, myrtle-wax, ocuba-wax, sealing-wax.)

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

  • intransitive verb To increase in size; to grow bigger; to become larger or fuller; -- opposed to wane.
  • intransitive verb To pass from one state to another; to become; to grow
  • intransitive verb (Med.) small tumors formed by the enlargement of the lymphatic glands, especially in the groins of children; -- popularly so called, because supposed to be caused by growth of the body.
  • transitive verb To smear or rub with wax; to treat with wax.
  • transitive verb cloth covered with a coating of wax, used as a cover, of tables and for other purposes; -- called also wax cloth.
  • transitive verb a thread pointed with a bristle and covered with shoemaker's wax, used in sewing leather, as for boots, shoes, and the like; -- called also wax end.
  • noun A fatty, solid substance, produced by bees, and employed by them in the construction of their comb; -- usually called beeswax. It is first excreted, from a row of pouches along their sides, in the form of scales, which, being masticated and mixed with saliva, become whitened and tenacious. Its natural color is pale or dull yellow.
  • noun Hence, any substance resembling beeswax in consistency or appearance.
  • noun (Physiol.) Cerumen, or earwax.
  • noun A waxlike composition used for uniting surfaces, for excluding air, and for other purposes.
  • noun A waxlike composition used by shoemakers for rubbing their thread.

Etymologies

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

[Perhaps from wax (as in archaic to wax angry, to grow angry).]

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

[Middle English, from Old English weax.]

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

[Middle English waxen, from Old English weaxan; see aug- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English wæx, from Proto-Germanic *wahsan, from Proto-Indo-European *wokso-. Cognate with Dutch was, German Wachs, Norwegian voks; and with Lithuanian vaškas, Russian воск

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English waxen, from Old English weaxan ("to wax, grow, be fruitful, increase, become powerful, flourish"), from Proto-Germanic *wahsijanan (“to grow”), from Proto-Indo-European *weks-, *aweks-, *auks- (“to grow, increase”). Cognate with Scots wax ("to grow"), West Frisian waakse ("to grow"), Dutch wassen ("to grow"), German wachsen ("to grow"), Danish and Norwegian vokse ("to grow"), Swedish växa ("to grow"), Icelandic vaxa ("to grow"), Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌷𐍃𐌾𐌰𐌽 (wahsjan, "to grow"); and with Ancient Greek ἀέξειν, Latin auxilium. It is in its turn cognate with augeo. See eke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; probably from phrases like to wax angry, wax wode, and similar (see Etymology 2, above).

Examples

  • When one of his friends suggested that the trouble might be wax in his ears, he shook his head sadly and said: "Oh no: not _wax_, but _wane_."

    Cambridge Sketches

  • The term wax pack came from the 70s / 80s when baseball cards came in wax packages (usually with some seriously stale gum).

    WordPress.com News

  • For vegans, candelilla wax is the preferred alternative since it is derived from a plant.

    Lipstick making - ingredients & melting

  • Thus, finding that in that substance which we call wax, fluidity, which is a simple idea that was not in it before, is constantly produced by the application of a certain degree of heat we call the simple idea of heat, in relation to fluidity in wax, the cause of it, and fluidity the effect.

    An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  • Thus finding that in that fubflance which we call wax fluidity, which is a fimple idea that was not in it before, is conflantly produced by the ap« plication of a certain degree of heat; we call the fimple idea of he it, in relation to fluidity in wax, the caufe of it, and fluidity the effedl.

    An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  • I always keep a flint and steel handy though. waterproof matches by dipping the head in wax or clear nail polish.

    Is flint better to start a fire than waterproof matches.

  • I always keep a flint and steel handy though. waterproof matches by dipping the head in wax or clear nail polish.

    Is flint better to start a fire than waterproof matches.

  • Adipocere, otherwise known as grave wax or mortuary wax, is a water-insoluble material consisting mostly of saturated fatty acids.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Thai doctors do not know what to do with her because she could not submit her past medical record and she cannot submit the tissue or paraffin wax of the tissue of the breast she cut off in Myanmar.

    Global Voices in English » Myanmar: New policy requires HIV groups to register

  • My mother would load our little metal lunch boxes with a thermos of hot chocolate and some sort of sandwich wrapped in wax paper, and a fruit or a cookie and off we would go.

    Hated Winter: From Snow to Rainforest « Colleen Anderson

Comments

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

  • A flat and ugly word: all that grease in so much abruption. Far worse than the tender promise of moist.

    August 16, 2010

  • The Century Dictionary's twelfth definition of wax is "Dung of cattle," if that helps any.

    August 17, 2010

  • Hmmmm.

    August 17, 2010

  • If you catch it before it's fire-fanged, it's probably still quite moist.

    August 17, 2010

  • Usage/historical note on Francesco Pegolotti.

    October 9, 2017

  • Compare waist.

    December 18, 2018