1 [in singular] a period of waiting:we had a long wait
2 (waits) archaic street singers of Christmas carols.
historical official bands of musicians maintained by a city or town.
1stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or event:he did not wait for a replywe’re waiting for Allan to get backVera did not wait on a Home Office ruling [with infinitive]:Ben stood on the street corner waiting to cross [with object]:I had to wait my turn to play
(wait for or on) stay where one is or delay action until (someone) arrives or is ready:he sits on the corner waiting for Maryshe was waiting on her boyfriend
be left until a later time before being dealt with:we shall need a statement later, but that will have to wait
[with object] informal defer (a meal) until a person’s arrival:I told my parents not to wait supper
2remain in readiness for a purpose:he found the train waiting on the platform
(of a vehicle) be parked for a short time at the side of a road.
3 (cannot wait) used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen:I can’t wait to tell Nick what happened
4act as a waiter or waitress, serving food and drink:a local man was employed to wait on them at table [with object]:we had to wait tables in the mess hall
watching for an enemy or potential victim and preparing to attack them:he decided to lie in wait for the thief
wait and see
wait to find out what will happen before doing something:we will have to wait and see what happens
wait for it
British informal do not act before the proper moment:patrol—wait for it—halt!
used to convey a threat or promise:you wait until your Dad gets in!
wait on (or upon)
1act as an attendant to:a maid was appointed to wait on her
archaic pay a respectful visit to:a deputation had waited upon Lords Salisbury, Redesdale, and Roxburghe
2await the convenience of:to see the full series, we will have to wait on the BBC
Australian/NZ & Northern English informal refrain from doing something until something else happens:wait on, I’ve an important message for you
1not go to bed until someone arrives or something happens:I’ll be back late. Don’t wait up for me
2North American go more slowly or stop until someone catches up:the kids bound out of sight, and I shout ‘Wait up!’