wait on


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Related to wait on: wait up

wait (up)on someone

Fig. to pay homage to someone. (Stilted.) Do you expect me to wait upon you like a member of some medieval court? She waited on her grown children as if they were gods and goddesses.
See also: on, wait

wait on somebody

to serve someone She waited on customers all day at the department store. He sits there in front of the TV and expects me to wait on him!
Related vocabulary: wait on somebody hand and foot
See also: on, wait

wait on

1. Also, wait upon. Serve, minister to, especially for personal needs or in a store or restaurant. For example, Guests at the Inn should not expect to be waited on-they can make their own beds and get their own breakfast . [Early 1500s]
2. Make a formal call on, as in They waited on the ambassador. [c. 1500]
3. Also, wait upon. Await, remain in readiness for, as in We're waiting on their decision to close the school. This usage, a synonym of wait for, dates from the late 1600s but in the mid-1800s began to be criticized by many authorities. However, by the late 1900s it had come into increasingly wider use and is again largely accepted.
See also: on, wait

wait on

or wait upon
v.
1. To serve the needs of someone or something; be in attendance on someone or something: The clerk waited on a customer.
2. To await someone or something: They're waiting on my decision.
3. To make a formal call on someone; visit someone: We waited on the mourning widow to pay our respects.
See also: on, wait