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wave Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun one of a series of ridges that moves across the surface of a liquid (especially across a large body of water)
    moving ridge.
  2. noun a movement like that of a sudden occurrence or increase in a specified phenomenon
    • a wave of settlers
    • troops advancing in waves
  3. noun (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
  4. noun something that rises rapidly
    • a wave of emotion swept over him
    • there was a sudden wave of buying before the market closed
    • a wave of conservatism in the country led by the hard right
  5. noun the act of signaling by a movement of the hand
    waving; wafture.
  6. noun a hairdo that creates undulations in the hair
  7. noun an undulating curve
  8. noun a persistent and widespread unusual weather condition (especially of unusual temperatures)
    • a heat wave
  9. noun 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
  10. verb signal with the hands or nod
    • She waved to her friends
    • He waved his hand hospitably
  11. verb move or swing back and forth
    flourish; brandish.
    • She waved her gun
  12. verb move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
    undulate; roll; flap.
    • The curtains undulated
    • the waves rolled towards the beach
  13. verb twist or roll into coils or ringlets
    • curl my hair, please
  14. verb set waves in
    • she asked the hairdresser to wave her hair

Wave transitive verb
  1. See Wave. Sir H. Wotton. Burke.
Wave intransitive verb
OE. waven, AS. wafian to waver, to hesitate, to wonder; akin to wæfre wavering, restless, MHG. wabern to be in motion, Icel. vafra to hover about; cf. Icel. vafa to vibrate. Cf. Waft, Waver.
imperfect & past participle Waved ; present participle & verbal noun Waving
  1. To play loosely; to move like a wave, one way and the other; to float; to flutter; to undulate.
    His purple robes waved careless to the winds. Trumbull.
    Where the flags of three nations has successively waved. Hawthorne.
  2. To be moved to and fro as a signal. B. Jonson.
  3. To fluctuate; to waver; to be in an unsettled state; to vacillate. Obs.
    He waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good nor harm. Shak.
Wave transitive verb
  1. To move one way and the other; to brandish. "[Æneas] waved his fatal sword." Dryden.
  2. To raise into inequalities of surface; to give an undulating form a surface to.
    Horns whelked and waved like the enridged sea. Shak.
  3. To move like a wave, or by floating; to waft. Obs. Sir T. Browne.
  4. 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.
    Look, with what courteous action It waves you to a more removed ground. Shak.
    She spoke, and bowing waved Dismissal. Tennyson.
Wave noun
From Wave, v.; not the same word as OE. wawe, waghe, a wave, which is akin to E. wag to move. . See Wave, v. i.
  1. 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.
    The wave behind impels the wave before. Pope.
  2. (Physics) 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.
  3. Water; a body of water. Poetic "Deep drank Lord Marmion of the wave." Sir W. Scott.
    Build a ship to save thee from the flood, I 'll furnish thee with fresh wave, bread, and wine. Chapman.
  4. Unevenness; inequality of surface. Sir I. Newton.
  5. A waving or undulating motion; a signal made with the hand, a flag, etc.
  6. The undulating line or streak of luster on cloth watered, or calendered, or on damask steel.
  7. Fig.: A swelling or excitement of thought, feeling, or energy; a tide; as, waves of enthusiasm.
Wave noun
See Woe.
  1. Woe. Obs.

Webster 1913