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noun waiv·er \ˈwā-vər\

Simple Definition of waiver

  • : the act of choosing not to use or require something that you are allowed to have or that is usually required

  • : an official document indicating that someone has given up or waived a right or requirement

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of waiver

  1. 1 :  the act of intentionally relinquishing or abandoning a known right, claim, or privilege; also :  the legal instrument evidencing such an act

  2. 2 :  the act of a club's waiving the right to claim a professional ball player who is being removed from another club's roster —often used in the phrase on waivers denoting the process by which a player to be removed from a roster is made available to other clubs

Examples of waiver in a sentence

  1. a criminal defendant's waiver of a jury trial

  2. The college got a special waiver from the town to exceed the building height limit.

  3. He signed an insurance waiver before surgery.

Origin and Etymology of waiver

Anglo-French weyver, from waiver, verb

First Known Use: 1628

Law Dictionary


noun waiv·er \ˈwā-vər\

Legal Definition of waiver

  1. :  the act of intentionally or knowingly relinquishing or abandoning a known right, claim, or privilege; also :  the legal instrument evidencing such an act — compare estoppel, forfeiture

Additional Notes on waiver

Acts or statements made while forming or carrying out a contract may constitute a waiver and prevent a party from enforcing a contractual right (as when an insurer is barred from disclaiming liability because of facts known to it when it issued the insurance policy). Varying standards are applied by courts to determine if there has been a waiver of various constitutional rights (such as the right to counsel) in criminal cases.

Origin and Etymology of waiver

Anglo-French, from waiver to waive

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up waiver? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to proceed clumsily or ineffectually

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