Etymology: 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
Date: before 12th century
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> 3. a. to motion to (someone) to go in an indicated direction or to stop ; flag, signal <checked his name and waved him on> <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> Synonyms: see swing II. noun Date: 1526 1. a. a moving ridge or swell on the surface of a liquid (as of the sea) b. open water 2. a. 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: 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: 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 7. a. 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 • waveless adjective • wavelessly adverb • wavelike adjective
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.