Meaning of “wave” in the English Dictionary

"wave" in British English

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waveverb [ I or T ]

uk /weɪv/ us /weɪv/

wave verb [ I or T ] (MOVE HAND)

B1 to raise your hand and move it from side to side as a way of greeting someone, telling someone to do something, or adding emphasis to an expression:

I waved to/at him from the window but he didn't see me.
I was waving my hand like mad but he never once looked in my direction.
She was so annoyed she wouldn't even wave us goodbye/wave goodbye to us.
She waves her hands about/around a lot when she's talking.
wave sb away, on, etc.

to make a movement with your hand that tells someone to move in a particular direction:

You'll have to wait till the policeman waves the car on.
You can't just wave me away as if I were a child!

More examples

  • He would always turn and wave at the end of the street.
  • They waved at us as we drove by.
  • Mary waved at the man but he didn't seem to notice.
  • She suddenly espied someone waving at her from the window.
  • I wished her a safe journey and waved her off.

wavenoun [ C ]

uk /weɪv/ us /weɪv/

wave noun [ C ] (WATER)

B1 a raised line of water that moves across the surface of an area of water, especially the sea:

At night, I listened to the sound of the waves breaking/crashing against the shore.

More examples

  • A large wave swept away half the sandcastle.
  • The boat was swamped by an enormous wave.
  • Wind and wave power are now being seriously canvassed as the solution to our energy problems.
  • A huge wave capsized the yacht.
  • The murmur of the waves on the beach lulled me to sleep.

wave noun [ C ] (BY A CROWD)

the Wave

US UK Mexican wave a wave-like movement made by a crowd watching a sports game, when everyone stands and lifts up their arms and then sits down again one after another:

The crowd did the Wave.

wave noun [ C ] (ENERGY)

B2 the pattern in which some types of energy, such as sound, light, and heat, are spread or carried:

radio waves

More examples

  • The microphone converts acoustic waves to electrical signals for transmission.
  • The unit emits an electromagnetic wave.
  • Radio Seven transmits on 201 medium wave.
  • Waves of light and sound are transmitted in every direction.
  • These sound waves travel at over 1000 feet per second.

wave noun [ C ] (LARGE NUMBER)

C2 a larger than usual number of events of a similar, often bad, type, happening within the same period:

a crime wave
The country was swept by a wave of protests.
a new, second, etc. wave of sth

an activity that is happening again or is being repeated after a pause:

A new wave of job losses is expected this year.

More examples

  • The Met Office says that the heat wave will continue for most of the week.
  • The vineyard is representative of the new wave of wine producers.
  • Wave on wave of refugees has crossed the border to escape the fighting.
  • This recent wave of terrorism has ruled out any chance of peace talks.
  • A wave of strikes swept the country.

(Definition of “wave” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"wave" in American English

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waveverb [ I/T ]

us /weɪv/

wave verb [ I/T ] (MOVE)

to raise your hand and move it from side to side as a greeting, or to get someone's attention or give information:

[ I ] She leaned out the window and waved (good-bye).
[ M ] As soon as we showed our papers as journalists, the policeman waved us in (= moved his hand to allow us to go in).

If you wave something or something waves, you move it from side to side while holding it in the hand, or something else moves it in this way:

[ T ] He was very excited and rushed into the room waving a piece of paper.
[ I ] Flags waved in the breeze.

wavenoun [ C ]

us /weɪv/

wave noun [ C ] (WATER MOVEMENT)

a raised movement of water rolling across the surface esp. of the sea:

We were so close we could hear the waves breaking on the beach.

A wave is also a sudden increase in an activity or in the strength of a condition or feeling:

A wave of emotion swept through her as she visited her home town.

wave noun [ C ] (ENERGY FORM)

physics the continuous, repeating pattern in which some types of energy, such as sound, light, and heat, are spread or carried:

wave noun [ C ] (MOVE)

a movement of your raised hand from side to side or up and down as a greeting or goodbye, or to get someone's attention or give information:

She looked at him for a long time, and then, with a wave of her hand, she was off.

(Definition of “wave” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"wave" in Business English

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wavenoun [ C ]

uk /weɪv/ us

a larger than usual number of events of a similar, often bad, type, happening within the same period:

a wave of sth During the recession there was a wave of bankruptcies and mass unemployment.
a crime wave

the pattern in which some types of energy, such as sound, light, and heat, are spread or carried:

light/sound/radio waves Large amounts of data is transmitted via light waves inside fiberoptic cables.
make waves

to do things that make people notice you, often in a way that causes trouble:

Sometimes, an employee feels intimidated by workplace bullying, but, they don't want to make waves.

(Definition of “wave” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)