wax

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
: a substance that is secreted by bees and is used by them for constructing the honeycomb, that is a dull yellow solid plastic when warm, and that is composed primarily of a mixture of esters, hydrocarbons, and fatty acids : beeswax
2
: any of various substances resembling the wax of bees: such as
a
: any of numerous substances of plant or animal origin that differ from fats in being less greasy, harder, and more brittle and in containing principally compounds of high molecular weight (such as fatty acids, alcohols, and saturated hydrocarbons)
b
: a solid substance (such as ozokerite or paraffin wax) of mineral origin consisting usually of hydrocarbons of high molecular weight
c
: a pliable or liquid composition used especially in uniting surfaces, excluding air, making patterns or impressions, or producing a polished surface
3
: something likened to wax as soft, impressionable, or readily molded
4
: a waxy secretion
especially : earwax
5
: a phonograph recording
waxlike adjective

wax

2 of 5

verb (1)

waxed; waxing; waxes

transitive verb

1
a
: to treat or rub with wax usually for polishing, stiffening, or reducing friction
b
: to apply wax to as a depilatory
getting her legs waxed
2
: to record on phonograph records
3
slang : to defeat decisively (as in an athletic contest)

wax

3 of 5

verb (2)

waxed; waxing; waxes

intransitive verb

1
a
: to increase in size, numbers, strength, prosperity, or intensity
b
: to grow in volume or duration
c
: to grow toward full development
2
: to increase in phase or intensity
used chiefly of the moon, other satellites, and inferior planets
3
: to assume a (specified) characteristic, quality, or state : become
wax indignant
wax poetic

wax

4 of 5

noun (2)

: increase, growth
usually used in the phrase on the wax

wax

5 of 5

noun (3)

: a fit of temper : rage

Examples of wax in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Annual maintenance can cost less than $100 for the cost of oil, wax, and other cleaning supplies. Katherine Owen, Southern Living, 27 Mar. 2024 Meanwhile, the Las Vegas wax figure wears an authentic GUESS outfit provided by Balvin himself, originally worn during his 2019 Coca Cola Fest performance in Mexico City. Griselda Flores, Billboard, 22 Mar. 2024 Dip the bottom portion of larger candles into the colored wax, remove, shaking off any excess wax, and let dry on a piece of wax paper. Kit Selzer, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Mar. 2024 Finish: Matte Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, olive oil, berry fruit wax, jojoba esters Staying power: Long-wearing Ease of application: For precise application, use the edge of the bullet’s micro-stilo tip to outline the lips before filling them in. Jenny Berg, Vogue, 8 Mar. 2024 Madame Tussauds New York and Las Vegas unveiled J Balvin’s two new wax figures on Friday (March 22). Griselda Flores, Billboard, 22 Mar. 2024 Infused with rose wax and almond oil to give your skin a soft and supple feel, the microfine powder nanoparticles add a blurring effect to leave your base looking smoother. Clare Holden, Glamour, 1 Mar. 2024 Cohn creates her elemental and elegant jewels by working directly with wax to create the molds, rather than sketching out designs. Kyle Roderick, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 The videos, which were posted online to advertise her hair removal business, allegedly showed her 5-year-old daughter working with hot wax and applying it to a number of nude women. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024
Verb
The sun experiences a regular 11-year cycle of waxing and waning activity tied to when the star’s magnetic field flips. Cnn Com Wire Service, Orange County Register, 2 Apr. 2024 Holmes waxed poetic about the wonder of early photography in an essay in The Atlantic, published in 1859. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 17 Mar. 2024 There are few other interesting celestial events to watch out for, including a waxing crescent moon in Gemini, and Venus and Mars appearing to pass close to each other. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 Flexible Flyer recommends waxing the bottom for additional speed for older children or adults. Heather Balogh Rochfort, Parents, 26 Feb. 2024 Friday saw a waxing gibbous moon at 99% illumination. Jenna Prestininzi, Detroit Free Press, 24 Feb. 2024 Analysts estimate the initiative would raise roughly $66.1 million annually, easing the pace and scale of road rot. When presented with the plan, some council members waxed skeptical. Jaime Moore-Carrillo, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 6 Mar. 2024 The moon goes through eight phases during its 29.5 day cycle: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. Arianna Johnson, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 This is certainly rarefied air for the Lions, whose only previous appearance in the NFC title round occurred 32 years ago, when they were waxed 41-10 by eventual Super Bowl champion Washington. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wax.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English weax; akin to Old High German wahs wax, Lithuanian vaškas

Verb (2)

Middle English waxen "to grow, increase in size or quantity," going back to Old English weaxan (Class VII strong verb, probably originally Class VI), going back to Germanic *wahsan- (whence also Old Frisian waxa, wexa "to grow, increase," Old Saxon wahsan "to grow, prosper," Middle Dutch wassen "to grow," Old High German wahsan, Old Icelandic vaxa, Gothic wahsjan), going back to an o-grade derivative of the Indo-European verbal base *h2u̯eks- "grow, increase," whence with e-grade Greek aéxein "to cause to grow, strengthen," aéxesthai "to increase, grow"; with zero grade *h2uks- Greek aúxein, auxánein "to raise, cultivate, grow," aúxesthai "grow, become larger," Tocharian B auks- "sprout, grow up," Sanskrit úkṣant- "growing," Avestan uxšiieitī "(it) grows"

Note: Germanic *wahsan- was a Class VI strong verb, though the weak infinitive wahsjan in Gothic is evidence of an original causative formation *h2u̯oks-éi̯e-. In Old English the verb has shifted to Class VII, excepting the Northumbrian past tense forms awōx, wōxon. In later Middle English waxen became a weak verb, though the strong participle waxen persisted into early Modern English, being the more common form (as against waxed) in the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611). — As has long been noted, Indo-European *h2u̯eks- appears to be a suffixed form of the root *h2eu̯g- "increase," with the vowel in a different position—so-called "floating ablaut" (German Schwebeablaut) (see eke entry 2).

Noun (2)

Middle English, noun derivative of waxen "to grow, wax entry 3"

Noun (3)

perhaps from wax entry 3

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wax was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near wax

Cite this Entry

“Wax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wax. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

wax

1 of 3 noun
1
: a yellowish moldable substance produced by bees and used by them for making the honeycomb

called also beeswax

2
: any of various substances like the wax of bees
waxlike adjective

wax

2 of 3 verb
: to treat or rub with wax

wax

3 of 3 verb
1
: to grow larger, stronger, fuller, or more numerous
2
: become sense 1
waxed angry as I heard the story
Etymology

Noun

Old English weax "wax produced by bees"

Verb

Old English weaxan "to increase"

Medical Definition

wax

noun
1
: a substance that is secreted by bees and is used by them for constructing the honeycomb, that is a dull yellow solid plastic when warm, and that is composed of a mixture of esters, cerotic acid, and hydrocarbons

called also beeswax

2
: any of various substances resembling beeswax: as
a
: any of numerous substances of plant or animal origin that differ from fats in being less greasy, harder, and more brittle and in containing principally compounds of high molecular weight (as fatty acids, alcohols, and saturated hydrocarbons)
b
: a pliable or liquid composition used especially in uniting surfaces, excluding air, making patterns or impressions, or producing a polished surface
dental waxes
3
: a waxy secretion
especially : earwax

More from Merriam-Webster on wax

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