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Related to wave: electromagnetic wave


Actions, words, or ideas that are meant to impress or appear convincing but which are in reality insubstantial or inconsequential. The governor has been doing a lot of political handwaving over the issue of immigration lately, but few suspect that anything will actually be accomplished in the coming year.

heat wave

A period of time in which the weather is unusually and persistently hot. Our summers are usually very mild here, but we've been in the midst of a heat wave recently that's made it feel like the tropics!
See also: heat, wave

ride (on) the wave (of something)

To enjoy the advantage or benefit of a particularly successful, popular, fortunate, interesting, etc., moment or period of time. Jonathan has been riding the wave of his sister's celebrity ever since she was cast in that blockbuster film series. The popular Internet artist has ridden the wave of support from her fan base to launch an incredibly successful crowd funding campaign for a new project. Ever since I won the lottery, everybody has been really friendly to me, and I've just been riding the wave ever since!
See also: ride, wave

wave goodbye to (something)

To lose or end something, especially suddenly; to be forced to accept such a loss or end. You were caught drinking on school property? Well, you can wave goodbye to your brand new car, mister! After the final horse lost its race, I waved goodbye to all the money I'd won that day at the track. You do realize that you'll be waving goodbye to all the health insurance benefits the company has to offer if you decide to work as a freelancer?
See also: goodbye, wave

wave (a/the) white flag

To offer a sign of surrender or defeat; to yield or give in. After the prosecutors brought forward their newest evidence, the defendant waved the white flag and agreed to the plea bargain. We've been in negotiations for weeks, but it looks like the other company might finally be ready to wave a white flag.
See also: flag, wave, white

catch the next wave

 and wait for the next wave
Fig. to follow the next fad. He has no purpose in life. He sits around strumming his guitar and waiting to catch the next wave.
See also: catch, next, wave

make waves

Sl. to cause difficulty. (Often in the negative.) Just relax. Don't make waves. If you make waves too much around here, you won't last long.
See also: make, WAVES

wave at someone

 and wave to someone
to move an upraised hand in such a way as to signal recognition to someone. The people in the boat waved at us. They waved to us after we waved at them.
See also: wave

wave back (at someone)

to return someone's hand signal of greeting. I waved back at her, but she didn't see me. She didn't wave back.
See also: back, wave

wave someone back (from something)

to motion someone to move back from something. The police officer waved the curious onlookers back from the scene of the crime. The students started to go onstage, but the teacher waved them back.
See also: back, wave

wave someone or something aside

to make a signal with the hand for someone or something to move aside. The police officer waved us aside and would not let us turn into our street. The officer waved aside the spectators. She waved all the traffic aside.
See also: aside, wave

wave someone or something away (from someone or something)

to make a signal with the hand for someone or something to move away from someone or something. The officer waved us away from the intersection where we were about to turn left. The guard waved away the traffic from the intersection.
See also: away, wave

wave someone or something off

to make a signal with the hand for someone or something to remain at a distance. There was someone standing in front of the bridge, waving everyone off. The bridge must have collapsed. He waved off all the traffic.
See also: off, wave

wave someone or something on

to make a signal with the hand for someone or something to move on or keep moving. The traffic cop waved us on. The cop waved on the hordes of pedestrians.
See also: on, wave

wave something around

to raise something up and move it around so that everyone can see it. When Ruth found the money, she waved it around so everyone could see it. She kept waving around the dollar she found in the street.
See also: around, wave

wave the flag

also show the flag
to defend and support someone or something Marsalis waves the flag better than anyone and attracts new fans to jazz all the time. Brown's job is to show the flag for the president and remind voters that he is working for them.
Usage notes: also used in the form fly the flag: When she was in jail, several newspapers flew the flag for her.
See also: flag, wave

wave a magic wand

to solve a difficult problem with no effort Unfortunately, you can't just wave a magic wand and get rid of poverty.
Etymology: from the practice of waving a wand (a special stick) when someone is doing a magic trick
See also: magic, wand, wave

catch the wave

to understand and behave according to the most modern fashions in social behavior The company's move was aimed at catching the wave of consumers rushing to the Web. Is the topic hip enough for TV to want to catch the wave?
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of catch a wave (to start riding a board across the rolling surface of the sea)
See also: catch, wave

ride a wave of something

also ride the wave of something
to be helped by being connected to something attractive or interesting The president rode a wave of good feeling among voters that made it impossible for him to lose the election.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of ride a wave (to stand on a board moving across the rolling surface of the sea)
See also: of, ride, wave

make waves

to shock or upset people with something new or different Her clothes have made waves on the fashion scene around the world.
Usage notes: often used in the form not make waves: We decided not to make waves with our parents and agreed to have a real wedding.
Related vocabulary: don't rock the boat
See also: make, WAVES

catch the wave

  (American & Australian)
to try to get an advantage for yourself by becoming involved with something that is becoming popular or fashionable Older Spanish restaurants are expanding to try to catch the tapas wave.
See also: catch, wave

be on the crest of a wave

to be very successful so that many good things happen to you very quickly The band are currently on the crest of a wave, with a new album and a concert tour planned for next year.
See also: of, on, wave

fly/show/wave the flag

to support or to represent your country (often + for ) In the absence of any other Italian film directors, Mr Infascelli bravely flew the flag for his country.
See also: flag, fly

kiss/say/wave goodbye to something

if you say goodbye to something, you accept that you will not have it any more or that you will not get it You can say goodbye to your £10. Tom never repays his debts.
See also: goodbye, kiss

ride (on) a/the wave

to become involved with and get advantages from opinions or activities which have become very common or popular (often + of ) She came to power riding on a wave of personal popularity.
See also: ride, wave

make waves

to change an existing situation in a way which causes problems or upsets people Some workers felt it was not the time to make waves by organizing a union. Our culture encourages us to fit the norm and not to make waves.
See also: make, WAVES

make waves

Cause a disturbance or controversy, as in We've finally settled our differences, so please don't make waves. This expression alludes to causing turbulence in the water. [Slang; mid-1900s] Also see rock the boat.
See also: make, WAVES

wave aside

1. To direct someone or something to stand aside by or as if by waving the hand or arm: The police waved aside the crowd. I waved my friends aside.
2. To ignore or dismiss someone or something: This review waves aside the actors' performances. The supervisor waved the new assistant aside.
See also: aside, wave

wave down

To signal and cause someone or something to stop by waving the hand or arm: I waved down a cab. The stranded motorist waved a police car down.
See also: down, wave

wave off

1. To dismiss or refuse something or someone by waving the hand or arm: The celebrity waved off our invitation to join our group. The bus driver waved us off and refused to stop.
2. Sports To cancel or nullify something by waving the arms, usually from a crossed position: The official waved off the goal because time had run out. The referee waved the penalty off after reviewing the play.
3. To acknowledge someone's departure by waving the hand or arm: We went down to the train station to wave off the politician. We waved our guests off at the airport.
See also: off, wave

wave on

To encourage or signal someone or something to proceed by or as if by waving the hand or arm: The police officer waved the pedestrians on. The crowd waved on the runners.
See also: on, wave

wave through

To direct or allow someone or something to pass through by or as if by waving the hand or arm: We slowed down at the gate, but the guard waved us through. The customs officials waved through the passengers who had no luggage.
See also: wave

finger wave

n. the act of giving someone the finger; displaying the middle finger upright as a sign of derision. (see also give someone the finger.) The salute turned into a finger wave when the Major turned away.
See also: finger, wave

make waves

tv. to cause difficulty. (Often in the negative.) If you make waves too much around here, you won’t last long.
See also: make, WAVES

make waves

To cause a disturbance or controversy.
See also: make, WAVES
References in classic literature ?
The sea is full of fire on summer nights all the way down from Novastoshnah to Lukannon, and each seal leaves a wake like burning oil behind him and a flaming flash when he jumps, and the waves break in great phosphorescent streaks and swirls.
By its light, between the Island of Lemaire and Cape Croiselle, a quarter of a league distant, Dantes saw a fishing-boat driven rapidly like a spectre before the power of winds and waves.
I found the poor creature sitting all alone astride of a keel, for Jove had struck his ship with lightning and sunk it in mid ocean, so that all his crew were drowned, while he himself was driven by wind and waves on to my island.
The many-colored shadows of the fairest flowers played on the pure white walls, and fountains sparkled in the sunlight, making music as the cool waves rose and fell, while to and fro, with waving wings and joyous voices, went the smiling Elves, bearing fruit and honey, or fragrant garlands for each other's hair.
And all the heavens became black with stormy clouds, and the lightnings played, and the thunders rolled; and you might have seen in the sea great black waves, swelling up like mountains with crowns of white foam upon their heads.
Around and over it whirled, this way and that, and a few moments later the chicken-coop dropped far away into the sea, where the big waves caught it and slid it up-hill to a foaming crest and then down-hill into a deep valley, as if it were nothing more than a plaything to keep them amused.
This may be illustrated by placing books edgeways on a carpet, and then, after the manner suggested by Michell, imitating the undulations of an earthquake: it will be found that they fall with more or less readiness, according as their direction more or less nearly coincides with the line of the waves.
Under the thatch roof supported by smooth columns, of which each one had cost the life of a straight-stemmed young palm, the scent of flowering hedges drifted in warm waves.
The wave that came upon me again buried me at once twenty or thirty feet deep in its own body, and I could feel myself carried with a mighty force and swiftness towards the shore - a very great way; but I held my breath, and assisted myself to swim still forward with all my might.
There, a mile and a half from the frigate, a long blackish body emerged a yard above the waves.
The sea was very rough in the straits, full of eddies formed by the counter-currents, and the chopping waves broke her course, whilst it became very difficult to stand on deck.
The grayness of the whole immense surface, the wind furrows upon the faces of the waves, the great masses of foam, tossed about and waving, like matted white locks, give to the sea in a gale an appearance of hoary age, lustreless, dull, without gleams, as though it had been created before light itself.
The sun had, however, risen through a bank of orange clouds, tingeing with its cheerful rays the crests of the black waves.
All eyes were strained after the little bark as it pulled for shore, rising and sinking with the huge rolling waves, until it entered, a mere speck, among the foaming breakers, and was soon lost to view.
There open fanes and gaping graves Yawn level with the luminous waves ; But not the riches there that lie In each idol's diamond eye - Not the gaily-jewelled dead Tempt the waters from their bed ; For no ripples curl, alas