wave / wāv/ • v. 1. [intr.] move one's hand to and fro in greeting or as a signal: he waved to me from the train. ∎ [tr.] move (one's hand or arm, or something held in one's hand) to and fro: he waved a sheaf of papers in the air. ∎ move to and fro with a swaying or undulating motion while remaining fixed to one point: the flag waved in the wind. ∎ [tr.] convey (a greeting or other message) by moving one's hand or something held in it to and fro: we waved our farewells | she waved him goodbye. ∎ [tr.] instruct (someone) to move in a particular direction by moving one's hand: he waved her back.2. [tr.] style (hair) so that it curls slightly: her hair had been carefully waved for the evening. ∎ [intr.] (of hair) grow with a slight curl: [as adj.] (waving) thick, waving gray hair sprouted back from his forehead. • n. 1. a long body of water curling into an arched form and breaking on the shore. ∎ a ridge of water between two depressions in open water: gulls and cormorants bobbed on the waves. ∎ a shape seen as comparable to a breaking wave: a wave of treetops stretched to the horizon. ∎ (usu. the wave) an effect resembling a moving wave produced by successive sections of the crowd in a stadium standing up, raising their arms, lowering them, and sitting down again. ∎ (the waves) poetic/lit. the sea. ∎ an intense burst of a particular feeling or emotion: horror came over me in waves a new wave of apprehension assailed her. ∎ a sudden occurrence of or increase in a specified phenomenon: a wave of strikes had effectively paralyzed the government.2. a gesture or signal made by moving one's hand to and fro: he gave a little wave and walked off.3. a slightly curling lock of hair: his hair was drying in unruly waves. ∎ a tendency to curl in a person's hair: her hair has a slight natural wave.4. Physics a periodic disturbance of the particles of a substance that may be propagated without net movement of the particles, such as in the passage of undulating motion, heat, or sound. See also standing wave and traveling wave. ∎ a single curve in the course of this motion. ∎ a similar variation of an electromagnetic field in the propagation of light or other radiation through a medium or vacuum.PHRASES: make waves inf. create a significant impression: he has already made waves as a sculptor. ∎ cause trouble: I don't want to risk her welfare by making waves.PHRASAL VERBS: wave something aside dismiss something as unnecessary or irrelevant: he waved the objection aside and carried on.wave someone/something down use one's hand to give a signal to stop to a driver or vehicle.DERIVATIVES: wave·less adj.wave·like adj. & adv.