Oceanographya moving ridge or swell on the surface of water:The ocean waves crashed against the rocks.
a movement of the hand, as in greeting:gave us a wave and a smile.
a movement or part resembling a wave:a wave in her hair.
a sudden surge or rush, as of a feeling; esp., a widespread, typically surging feeling, attitude, opinion, tendency, belief, activity, etc.:felt a wave of nausea; a crime wave.
a period of unusually hot or cold weather:a heat wave.
Physicsa disturbance sent out or across from one point to another in a medium or space, without progress or advance by the points themselves, as in the transmission of sound or light:a sound wave;a light wave;electromagnetic waves.
to (cause to) move back and forth or up and down: [no object]flags waving in the wind.[~ + object]They waved their arms.
to signal, esp. in greeting, by raising the hand and moving the fingers: [no object]He waved to us in greeting.[~ + object]He waved his hand in greeting.
to curve back and forth in opposite directions:[~ + object]to wave one's hair.
Idioms, Informal Termsmake waves,[Informal.]to create a disturbance:tried not to make waves when things were going well.
wave(wāv),USA pronunciationn., v.,waved, wav•ing. n.
Oceanographya disturbance on the surface of a liquid body, as the sea or a lake, in the form of a moving ridge or swell.
any surging or progressing movement or part resembling a wave of the sea:a wave of the pulse.
a swell, surge, or rush, as of feeling or of a certain condition:a wave of disgust sweeping over a person; a wave of cholera throughout the country.
a widespread feeling, opinion, tendency, etc.:a wave of anti-intellectualism; the new wave of installment buying.
a mass movement, as of troops, settlers, or migrating birds.
an outward curve, or one of a series of such curves, in a surface or line; undulation.
an act or instance of waving.
a fluttering sign or signal made with the hand, a flag, etc.:a farewell wave.
natural waviness of the hair, or a special treatment to impart waviness:to have a wave in one's hair; to get a shampoo and a wave.
a period or spell of unusually hot or cold weather.
Physicsa progressive disturbance propagated from point to point in a medium or space without progress or advance by the points themselves, as in the transmission of sound or light.
a body of water.
(at sports events, esp. baseball games) a momentary standing and sitting back down by spectators in a sequential, lateral way to create, en masse, a wavelike effect visually.
make waves,[Informal.]to disturb the status quo; cause trouble, as by questioning or resisting the accepted rules, procedures, etc.:The best way to stay out of trouble at the office is not to make waves.
to move freely and gently back and forth or up and down, as by the action of air currents, sea swells, etc.:The flags were waving in the wind.
to curve alternately in opposite directions; have an undulating form:The road waved along the valley.
to bend or sway up and down or to and fro, as branches or plants in the wind.
to be moved, esp. alternately in opposite directions:The woman's handkerchief waved in encouragement.
to give a signal by fluttering or flapping something:She waved to me with her hand.
to cause to flutter or have a waving motion in:A night wind waves the tattered banners.
to cause to bend or sway up and down or to and fro:The storm waved the heavy branches of the elm.
to give an undulating form to; cause to curve up and down or in and out.
to give a wavy appearance or pattern to, as silk.
to impart a wave to (the hair).
to move, esp. alternately in opposite directions:to wave the hand.
to signal to by waving a flag or the like; direct by a waving movement:to wave a train to a halt; to wave traffic around an obstacle.
to signify or express by a waving movement:to wave a last good-bye.
1325–75; Middle English waven (verb, verbal), Old English wafian to wave the hands; cognate with Middle High German waben; compare waver1
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged undulation, whitecap. Wave,ripple,breaker,surf refer to a ridge or swell on the surface of water. Wave is the general word:waves in a high wind.A ripple is the smallest kind of wave, such as is caused by a stone thrown into a pool:ripples in a brook.A breaker is a wave breaking, or about to break, upon the shore or upon rocks:the roar of breakers.Surf is the collective name for breakers:Heavy surf makes bathing dangerous.
to move or cause to move freely to and fro: the banner waved in the wind
(intransitive) to move the hand to and fro as a greeting
to signal or signify by or as if by waving something
(transitive) to direct to move by or as if by waving something: he waved me on
to form or be formed into curves, undulations, etc
(transitive) to set waves in (the hair)
one of a sequence of ridges or undulations that moves across the surface of a body of a liquid, esp the sea: created by the wind or a moving object and gravity
any undulation on or at the edge of a surface reminiscent of such a wave: a wave across the field of corn
the waves ⇒ the sea
anything that suggests the movement of a wave, as by a sudden rise: a crime wave
a widespread movement that advances in a body: a wave of settlers swept into the country
the act or an instance of waving
an oscillation propagated through a medium or space such that energy is periodically interchanged between two kinds of disturbance. For example, an oscillating electric field generates a magnetic oscillation and vice versa, hence an electromagnetic wave is produced. Similarly a wave on a liquid comprises vertical and horizontal displacements
a graphical representation of a wave obtained by plotting the magnitude of the disturbance against time at a particular point in the medium or space; waveform
a prolonged spell of some weather condition: a heat wave
an undulating curve or series of curves or loose curls in the hair
make waves ⇒ to cause trouble; disturb the status quo
Etymology: Old English wafian (vb); related to Old High German weban to weave, Old Norse vafra; see waver; C16 (n) changed from earlier wāwe, probably from Old English wǣg motion; compare wag1