wave

verb
\ ˈwāv How to pronounce wave (audio) \
waved; waving

Definition of wave

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to motion with the hands or with something held in them in signal or salute
2 : to float, play, or shake in an air current : move loosely to and fro : flutter flags waving in the breeze
3 of water : to move in waves : heave
4 : to become moved or brandished to and fro signs waved in the crowd
5 : to move before the wind with a wavelike motion field of waving grain
6 : to follow a curving line or take a wavy form : undulate

transitive verb

1 : to swing (something) back and forth or up and down
2 : to impart a curving or undulating shape to waved her hair
3a : to motion to (someone) to go in an indicated direction or to stop : signal waved down a passing car
b : to gesture with (the hand or an object) in greeting or farewell or in homage
c : to dismiss or put out of mind : disregard usually used with aside or off
d : to convey by waving waved farewell
4 : brandish, flourish waved a pistol menacingly

wave

noun (1)

Definition of wave (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a moving ridge or swell on the surface of a liquid (as of the sea)
b : open water
2a : a shape or outline having successive curves
b : a waviness of the hair
c : an undulating line or streak or a pattern formed by such lines
3 : something that swells and dies away: such as
a : a surge of sensation or emotion a wave of anger swept over her
b : a movement sweeping large numbers in a common direction waves of protest
c : a peak or climax of activity a wave of buying
4 : a sweep of hand or arm or of some object held in the hand used as a signal or greeting
5 : a rolling or undulatory movement or one of a series of such movements passing along a surface or through the air
6 : a movement like that of an ocean wave: such as
a : a surging movement of a group a big new wave of women politicians
b : one of a succession of influxes of people migrating into a region
c(1) : a moving group of animals of one kind
(2) : a sudden rapid increase in a population
d : a line of attacking or advancing troops or airplanes
e : a display of people in a large crowd (as at a sports event) successively rising, lifting their arms overhead, and quickly sitting so as to form a swell moving through the crowd
7a : a disturbance or variation that transfers energy progressively from point to point in a medium and that may take the form of an elastic deformation or of a variation of pressure, electric or magnetic intensity, electric potential, or temperature
b : one complete cycle of such a disturbance
8 : a marked change in temperature : a period of hot or cold weather
9 : an undulating or jagged line constituting a graphic representation of an action

Wave

noun (2)
\ ˈwāv How to pronounce Wave (audio) \

Definition of Wave (Entry 3 of 3)

: a member of the women's component of the U.S. Navy formed during World War II and discontinued in the 1970s

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wave

Noun (1)

waveless \ ˈwāv-​ləs How to pronounce waveless (audio) \ adjective
wavelessly adverb
wavelike \ -​ˌlīk How to pronounce wavelike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for wave

Synonyms: Verb

beckon, flag, gesture, motion, signal

Synonyms: Noun (1)

billow, surge, swell

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for wave

Verb

swing, wave, flourish, brandish, thrash mean to wield or cause to move to and fro or up and down. swing implies regular or uniform movement. swing the rope back and forth wave usually implies smooth or continuous motion. waving the flag flourish suggests vigorous, ostentatious, graceful movement. flourished the winning lottery ticket brandish implies threatening or menacing motion. brandishing a knife thrash suggests vigorous, abrupt, violent movement. an infant thrashing his arms about

Examples of wave in a Sentence

Verb

We waved to our friends through the window. She was waving in the direction of the bridge. Flags were waving in the breeze. The magician waved his magic wand. The leader of the parade waved a flag. It was so hot that we were all waving our hands in front of our faces to cool off.

Noun (1)

The waves crashed onto the rocks. She has a wave in her hair. Waves of warm air washed over us. We got a wave from the Queen. The rabbit disappeared with a wave of the magician's wand.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Air gestures—which require you to wave your hand above the phone screen to control it—have been tried on phones before, usually with poor results. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google’s next flagship smartphone launches October 15," 16 Sep. 2019 Fans are still allowed to wear Iron Front imagery on their clothing, but are not allowed to wave flags with the symbol, the Timbers organization said in a statement in August. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Major League Soccer to meet with Independent Supporters Council regarding fan code of conduct," 11 Sep. 2019 Sam stumbled along the street, blood pouring down his legs, frantically trying to wave down passing cars. Washington Post, "Son’s opioid addiction subjects mom to goodbye after goodbye," 7 Sep. 2019 The diver breaks concentration for a second to wave and make a silly face, but then turns her attention back to the task. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Laura Wilkinson plans comeback for 2020 Tokyo Olympics," 20 Aug. 2019 While making an appearance with her mother, Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte was instructed to wave to the onlookers. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince George and Princess Charlotte “Lean on Each Other,” As Playdates Can Be "Tricky"," 15 Aug. 2019 Himan was able to wave to the crowd as he was lifted into the ambulance, but Rutchena remained motionless. Mike Lefkow, The Mercury News, "The Fab Forty, No. 7: Monte Vista linebacker has clear set of priorities," 13 Aug. 2019 The hiker’s companion, who climbed a nearby peak to wave down rescuers, was also picked up by the Army Guard UH-60 Black Hawk, the Guard said. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Injured hiker, companion rescued from ridge near Girdwood after 30-foot fall," 18 July 2019 Bumgarner doesn’t have 98 MPH in the tank the way Verlander does, and the Yankees don’t have Houston’s magical pitching trainers, who seem to wave their wands and add five miles per hour to anyone’s fastball. James O’connell, courant.com, "Madison Bumgarner is not the Yankees’ savior," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And a line drawing Wilder received as a gift while collaborating with Los Angeles surf brand Mowgli Surf inspired her jaunty Swell wave print. Washington Post, "RIGHT AT HOME: The look of hand-drawn art is hot in decor," 18 Sep. 2019 Doctors blamed the poor match on a surprise second wave of H3N2 flu activity late in the season. NBC News, "This year's flu season may be a bad one. Here's why you need a flu shot.," 17 Sep. 2019 Humberto has also churned up large waves that will reach the coast by Wednesday. Leigh Morgan, al, "Hurricane Humberto path update: Category 2 storm may strengthen more as it tracks near Bermuda," 17 Sep. 2019 Otherwise, the United States has experienced large waves of immigration from Scotland, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, Ireland, Poland, etc.—also known as Europe. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Patrios," 16 Sep. 2019 But many brewers caught several waves at the right moment: the counterculture, the do-it-yourself movement, the consumer movement and even the advent of California cuisine. Theresa Mcculla, Smithsonian, "Here’s What’s Brewing in the New Smithsonian Beer Collections," 16 Sep. 2019 The helmets were striking -- a distinctive fluorescent green wave material peeked through the vents in the helmet. oregonlive, "WaveCel bursts onto the bike scene, expands into Wilsonville facility," 16 Sep. 2019 In artsy Todos Santos, chase the perfect wave while learning to surf. National Geographic, "Baja and the Sea of Cortez Expedition: Marine Conservation," 15 Sep. 2019 But on this windy late summer day, waves toss about the boat as Akeya stands in the bow, straining to pull up a line of herring-baited hooks from the rocky bottom. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 15 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of wave

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun (1)

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wave

Verb

Middle English, from Old English wafian to wave with the hands; akin to Old English wæfan to clothe and perhaps to Old English wefan to weave

Noun (2)

Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wave

wave

noun

Financial Definition of wave

What It Is

In investing, a wave is a pattern found in stock prices, technology, consumer trends or other areas. In technical analysis, the term often refers to Elliot Wave Theory.

How It Works

Elliot Wave Theory is a method for predicting stock prices by identifying certain trading patterns. Specifically, the theory states that markets move up in a series of five waves but move down in a series of three waves. The theory looks to investor psychology for key information.

Generally speaking, though, a "wave" is a term used to describe a new way of doing things. For example, Congress could pass new legislation to encourage "crowdfunding," which in turn could drive a new wave of startups who get their capital from online, fund-raising websites. The change could forever change the pathways through which capital reaches companies, and as a result more people may engage in the startup economy. This in turn could create markets for other crowdfunding websites, due diligence consulting firms, startup legal services and branding work.

Why It Matters

It's easy to see how investing ahead of waves could be extremely profitable. New waves can spur significant economic growth in certain sectors, and learning how to identify or predict waves accurately can lead to very good investment decisions.

Source: Investing Answers

wave

verb

English Language Learners Definition of wave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move your hand or something held in your hand usually in a repeated motion in order to signal or greet someone
: to float, shake, or move back and forth because of wind
: to move (something) back and forth

wave

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wave (Entry 2 of 2)

: an area of moving water that is raised above the main surface of an ocean, a lake, etc.
: something that has the shape or movement of a wave
: a usually repeated movement of your hand or of something held in your hand especially as a signal or greeting

wave

verb
\ ˈwāv How to pronounce wave (audio) \
waved; waving

Kids Definition of wave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move (as the hand) to and fro as a signal or in greeting
2 : to move (something) back and forth The Black Knight waved his lance weakly over our heads.— Jon Scieszka, Knights of the Kitchen Table
3 : to curve slightly Her hair waves naturally.
4 : to flutter with a rolling movement Flags waved in the wind.

wave

noun

Kids Definition of wave (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a moving ridge on the surface of water
2 : a waving motion a wave of the hand
3 : something that swells and dies away A wave of anger came over her.
4 : a rolling movement passing along a surface or through the air waves of grain
5 : a curving shape or series of curving shapes hair with waves
6 : a sudden increase in something a crime wave
7 : a motion that is somewhat like a wave in water and transfers energy from point to point sound waves

Keep scrolling for more

wave

noun
\ ˈwāv How to pronounce wave (audio) \

Medical Definition of wave

1a : a disturbance or variation that transfers energy progressively from point to point in a medium and that may take the form of an elastic deformation or of a variation of pressure, electrical or magnetic intensity, electrical potential, or temperature
b : one complete cycle of such a disturbance
2 : an undulating or jagged line constituting a graphic representation of an action an electroencephalographic wave

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wave

Spanish Central: Translation of wave

Nglish: Translation of wave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wave for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wave

Comments on wave

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!