lie in wait


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lie in wait (for someone or something)

Fig. to stay still and hidden, waiting for someone or something. Bob was lying in wait for Anne so he could scold her about something. The assassin lay in wait for his target to approach.
See also: lie, wait

lie in wait

1. to stay hidden, ready to attack Police said the suspect was lying in wait in a dark hallway. This person was found behind a wall, as if he were lying in wait for someone.
2. to delay doing something until the best time for it The smart thing to do is lie in wait for the right time to ask for a raise.
Related vocabulary: lie low
See also: lie, wait

lie in wait

Remain hidden while preparing to attack, as in The opposition was quietly lying in wait for the incumbent to make his first big mistake. This expression originally alluded to physical attacks and is now often used figuratively. [Mid-1400s] Also see lay for.
See also: lie, wait