(1)   A movement like that of a sudden occurrence or increase in a specified phenomenon
"A wave of settlers"
"Troops advancing in waves"
(2)   A hairdo that creates undulations in the hair
(3)   The act of signaling by a movement of the hand
(4)   (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
(5)   One of a series of ridges that moves across the surface of a liquid (especially across a large body of water)
(6)   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"
(7)   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
(8)   A persistent and widespread unusual weather condition (especially of unusual temperatures)
"A heat wave"
(9)   An undulating curve


(10)   Set waves in
"She asked the hairdresser to wave her hair"
(11)   Signal with the hands or nod
"She waved to her friends"
"He waved his hand hospitably"
(12)   Twist or roll into coils or ringlets
"Curl my hair, please"
(13)   Move or swing back and forth
"She waved her gun"
(14)   Move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
"The curtains undulated"
"The waves rolled towards the beach"

Etymology 1

Old English wafian, from Proto-Germanic *wab-, from Proto-Indo-European base *webh- "to move to and from, to weave".


  1. To move back and forth repeatedly.
    The flag waved in the gentle breeze.
  2. To wave one’s hand in greeting or departure.
    I waved goodbye from across the room.
  3. To have an undulating or wavy form.
  4. To swing and miss at a pitch.
    Jones waves at strike one.
  5. To cause to move back and forth repeatedly.
    The starter waved the flag to begin the race.
  6. To signal (someone or something) with a waving movement.
  7. To try, in public, to attract people into a business establishment.

Etymology 2

An alteration of waw, under influence of the verb; some senses developed directly from the verb.


  1. A moving disturbance in the level of a body of water.
    The wave traveled from the center of the lake before breaking on the shore.
  2. A moving disturbance in the energy level of a field.
    Gravity waves, while predicted by theory for decades, have been notoriously difficult to detect.
  3. A shape which alternately curves in opposite directions.
    Her hair had a nice wave to it.
  4. A sudden unusually large amount of something that is temporarily experienced.
    A wave of shoppers stampeded through the door when the store opened for its Christmas discount special.
    A wave of retirees began moving to the coastal area.
    A wave of emotion overcame her when she thought about her son who was killed in battle.
  5. A sideway movement of the hand(s).
    With a wave of the hand.