The verb wax is most often found in the company of its opposite, "wane." To wax is to grow larger or increase, whereas wane means to grow smaller or decrease.

As the moon grows towards fullness, it waxes. It wanes, or diminishes in size, as the new moon approaches. This is the most common context for the verb wax, but it is also used to describe other phenomena that grow or increase, particularly those that are cyclical. Figuratively, if you wax eloquent, lyrical or poetic about something, you talk about it at great length and with growing enthusiasm. The noun wax refers to chemical compounds that can be shaped and molded, for example into candles, when warm.

Definitions of wax
  1. noun
    any of various substances of either mineral origin or plant or animal origin; they are solid at normal temperatures and insoluble in water
    see moresee less
    show 18 types...
    hide 18 types...
    bayberry tallow, bayberry wax
    a fragrant green wax obtained from the wax myrtle and used in making candles
    carnauba, carnauba wax
    hard yellowish to brownish wax from leaves of the carnauba palm used especially in floor waxes and polishes
    candelilla wax
    a hard brown wax that occurs as a coating on candelilla shrubs
    a white wax extracted from ozokerite
    floor wax
    a preparation containing wax and used to polish and preserve the finish of floors
    fig wax, gondang wax
    a hard cream-colored wax obtained from a Javanese fig tree
    Japan tallow, Japan wax
    a yellow wax obtained from sumac berries; used in polishes
    montan wax
    a hard wax obtained from lignite
    pisang wax
    a wax obtained from the leaves of a plantain
    paraffin scale, scale wax
    partly refined paraffin wax
    ski wax
    wax used on the bottom of skis
    a yellow to brown wax secreted by honeybees to build honeycombs
    cerumen, earwax
    a soft yellow wax secreted by glands in the ear canal
    paraffin, paraffin wax
    from crude petroleum; used for candles and for preservative or waterproof coatings
    a white waxy substance from oil of the sperm whale
    vegetable wax
    a waxy substance obtained from plants (especially from the trunks of certain palms)
    lac wax, shellac wax
    a hard wax separated from shellac by its insolubility in alcohol
    Ghedda wax
    wax from Indian and African bees
    type of:
    lipid, lipide, lipoid
    an oily organic compound insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents; essential structural component of living cells (along with proteins and carbohydrates)
  2. verb
    cover with wax
    wax the car”
    see moresee less
    cover with beeswax
    type of:
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  3. verb
    go up or advance
    synonyms: climb, mount, rise
    see moresee less
    become smaller
    increase suddenly and significantly
    advance, gain
    rise in rate or price
    type of:
    become bigger or greater in amount
  4. verb
    increase in phase
    “the moon is waxing
    synonyms: full
    see moresee less
    decrease in phase
    type of:
    become bigger or greater in amount
  5. verb
    enter or assume a certain state or condition
    synonyms: become, get, go
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    sober, sober up
    become sober after excessive alcohol consumption
    sober, sober up
    become more realistic
    arrive at a certain condition through repeated motion
    take effect
    go into effect or become effective or operative
    change from one state to another
    be seized or affected in a specified way
    come into being
    become resolved, fixed, established, or quiet
    type of:
    change state, turn
    undergo a transformation or a change of position or action
  6. verb
    write or speak in a specified manner
    see moresee less
    type of:
    communicate, intercommunicate
    transmit thoughts or feelings
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week