wait on

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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
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
References in periodicals archive ?
This waiter-in-training program wrapped up at the Last Supper, when he taught them to wash each other's feet; and after the Resurrection (Acts 6), we learn that the apostles had two jobs--to preach the gospel and to wait upon the widows.
They would have to wait upon the even murkier aid decisions of individual institutions before they can seriously plan for the student's college education.
According to Mahayana Buddhist teachings, "A pupil should always rise when his teacher enters, wait upon him, follow his instructions well, not neglect an offering for him, and listen respectfully to his teaching.
Your newspaper needs to simmer down and wait upon a definition of an adequate education, and then see what schools meet the requirements.
But she must wait upon nature and her unpredictable processes.
There are hundreds of thousands of mothers across Britain who have full-time jobs and, no doubt, some of them find time for charity as well, even though they do not have an army of nannies and flunkies to wait upon them and their offspring.
A sticker on Haziel Albury's golf cart windshield proclaims: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
I am led by the celebrated present to the now of love and friendship and do not wait upon these after some prerequisites are met.
For me it raised a question that has dogged me for years: What does it really mean to wait upon God?
We can give until we have nothing left, because we know that lonely place where we can wait upon the Lord who renews strength.
So we could be in for almost another six months of this epically tedious version of Macbeth, in which Duncan, sorry Gordon, remains on his throne because all concerned persist in "Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would' like the poor cat i' the adage.
It's a disgrace that the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings should wait upon the restoration of the link between Gordon and Tony.
First of all one has to wait upon events and it will be an unfortunate day when the Queen dies," stressed the MP.
Servants stand to wait upon superiors, especially the guest of honor.