Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “wait”

wait

verb [I]     /weɪt/
A1 to allow time to go by, especially while staying in one place without doing very much, until someone comes, until something that you are expecting happens or until you can do something: I waited for her in the corridor, while she went in to see the doctor. The dentist kept me waiting for ages. [+ to infinitive] There were a lot of people waiting to use the phone.Staying and remainingWaitingWaitingStaying and remaining to be done or to happen at a later time: The meeting will have to wait until tomorrow, because I'm too busy now. The paperwork can't wait until tomorrow (= is urgent and must be done now).Delaying and wasting time no waiting UK (US no standing) used on signs to mean vehicles are not allowed to park, even for short periods of time: The sign by the side of the road said 'no waiting'.Lights, signs and markings on roads Grammar:Expect, hope or wait?See moreGrammar:ExpectWe use expect to say that we believe that something will happen. We use expect in the following main patterns:See moreGrammar:HopeWe use hope when we do not know whether something will happen or not but we want it to happen. We use hope in the following patterns:See moreGrammar:WaitWe use wait when we refer to letting time pass because we are expecting that something is going to happen. We use wait in the following main patterns:See moreGrammar:Expect, hope or wait: typical errorsSee moreGrammar:Wait or wait for?Wait means ‘stay in the same place or not do something until something else happens’. We can use it with or without for:See more
(Definition of wait verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of wait

Definitions of “wait” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

closeness

the quality of knowing someone very well, liking them a lot, and wanting to spend a lot of time together

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More