wait / wāt/ • v. [intr.] 1. stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens: he did not wait for a reply they will wait on a Supreme Court ruling | Ben stood on the street corner waiting to cross | [tr.] I had to wait my turn to play. ∎ remain in readiness for some purpose: he found the car waiting on the platform. ∎ be left until a later time before being dealt with: we shall need a statement later, but that will have to wait. ∎ [tr.] inf. defer (a meal) until a person's arrival: he will wait supper for me. ∎ (wait on/upon) chiefly Brit. await the convenience of: we can't wait on the government; we have to do it ourselves. 2. (cannot wait) used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen: I can't wait for tomorrow | I can't wait to get started again. 3. act as a waiter or waitress, serving food and drink: a local man was employed to wait on them at table | [tr.] we had to wait tables in the mess hall. • n. [in sing.] a period of waiting: we had a long wait. PHRASES: wait and see wait to find out what will happen before doing or deciding something.you wait used to convey a threat, warning, or promise: just you wait till your father comes home!PHRASAL VERBS: wait on (or upon) act as an attendant to (someone): a maid was appointed to wait on her. ∎ serve (a customer) in a store. ∎ archaic pay a respectful visit to. wait up 1. not go to bed until someone arrives or something happens. 2. go more slowly or stop until someone catches up.