A wait is the time it takes for something to happen. The wait to get the brand new computer was four hours long, but it was worth it.

The word wait originated in the 1200s, from the Old Northern French word waitier: "to watch with hostile intent." Even back then, people didn't like to wait. Anticipating something that will happen is waiting, though sometimes what you wait for never comes — like Godot, who never shows up in the play "Waiting for Godot." When you wait to do something, you delay. When you wait tables, you serve people, preferably without delay.

Primary Meanings of wait

time during which some action is awaited
stay in one place and anticipate or expect something
serve as a waiter or waitress in a restaurant
Full Definitions of wait

n time during which some action is awaited

delay, hold, postponement, time lag
a mutually agreed delay in the date set for the completion of a job or payment of a debt
a legally authorized postponement before some obligation must be discharged
the extent to which something is delayed or held back
Type of:
break, intermission, interruption, pause, suspension
a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something

n the act of waiting (remaining inactive in one place while expecting something)

“the wait was an ordeal for him”
Type of:
being inactive; being less active

v stay in one place and anticipate or expect something

“I had to wait on line for an hour to get the tickets”
ambuscade, ambush, bushwhack, lie in wait, lurk, scupper, waylay
wait in hiding to attack
cool one's heels, kick one's heels
wait or pass the time aimlessly or futilely; be kept waiting
stand by, stick about, stick around
be available or ready for a certain function or service

v wait before acting

hold back, hold off
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hold out
wait uncompromisingly for something desirable
act later than planned, scheduled, or required
hesitate, pause
interrupt temporarily an activity before continuing
dilly-dally, dillydally, drag one's feet, drag one's heels, procrastinate, shillyshally, stall
postpone doing what one should be doing
postpone or delay needlessly
defer, hold over, postpone, prorogue, put off, put over, remit, set back, shelve, table
hold back to a later time
Type of:
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)

v look forward to the probable occurrence of

“he is waiting to be drafted”
await, expect, look
anticipate, expect
regard something as probable or likely
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look forward to the birth of a child
look forward
expect or hope for
look to
turn one's interests or expectations towards
hang on, hold on, hold the line
hold the phone line open
anticipate, look for, look to
be excited or anxious about
apprehend, quail at
anticipate with dread or anxiety

v serve as a waiter or waitress in a restaurant

“I'm waiting on tables at Maxim's”
Type of:
exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity

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