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In the US, a surge of voters supporting Democratic candidates, resulting in an unusually high number being elected to office. (Democrats are associated with the color blue.) Liberals are hopeful that a blue wave is coming in the midterm elections this fall.
1. A type of wavy hairstyle achieved by using the fingers and a comb on damp hair. She looks so glamourous with her red lipstick and finger waves.
2. rude slang Raising the middle finger (a rude gesture of anger or displeasure) at one. What are you giving me a finger wave for, I didn't even say anything insulting! I gave my brother a finger wave after he said that he'd never seen a worse basketball player than me.
1. To cause trouble or controversy, especially that which affects the course of a situation. The merger is almost complete, so we're all just holding our collective breath that someone doesn't make waves at the last minute.
2. To do something innovative that draws a large amount of attention and makes a widespread impact on its society, industry, etc., often causing controversy in the process. The startup made waves throughout the industry by releasing a device that never needs to be charged.
An abundance of female candidates for political office during a given election or certain period, and/or a surge of voters supporting women candidates. Primarily heard in US. Throughout the country, there is a pink wave of female candidates looking to win seats in Congress.
In the US, a surge of voters supporting Republican candidates, resulting in an unusually high number being elected to office. (Republicans are associated with the color red.) Conservatives are hopeful that a red wave is coming in the midterm elections this fall.
wave a/(one's) (magic) wand (and do something)
To provide the perfect solution to a given problem or difficulty, as if by magic. If I could wave my magic wand, I would just make it so the pipe had been installed properly in the first place. But I can't, so we're going to have to make a decision about how to fix it. We can't just wave a magic wand and make poverty go away. It will have to be a systematic effort by many stakeholders.
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.
1. To move up and down, back and forth freely or haphazardly. The flag waved around wildly in the wind. The tower started waving around unsteadily, but thankfully it didn't collapse.
2. To move or swing something up and down, back and forth in the air. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "around." Please don't wave that stick around—you might break something! The protester stood aloft the barricade and began waving around the banner of the resistance.
3. To signal for someone or a vehicle to move around someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "around." The cop waved everyone around the paramedics as they treated the injured man. We need someone to stand in front of the roadworks and wave around the cars in traffic.
4. To display, promote, or show off someone or something, especially in a superficial, self-serving, or self-important manner. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "around." The only recognition our team ever gets is when the boss waves us around at the investors' meeting each year. I don't want to spend all that time and money just to get some degree that I can wave around but doesn't lead to a lucrative career. The federal agent came in and started waving her badge around, demanding to be shown our financial accounts.
1. To signal for someone or something to move away or aside by waving at them. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "aside." The police officer stood at the entrance of the building, waving onlookers and reporters aside. I had to wave aside cars so that Tom had room to repair the flat tire.
2. To dismiss, ignore, or evade something, especially a question. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "aside." The president waved the question aside and moved on to the next one. Please don't just wave aside this issue during the meeting—people deserve an answer.
wave at (someone or something)
1. To wave one's hand from side to side in the direction of or while looking at someone or something. A: "Who's that guy waving at you?" B: "I don't know. I've never seen him before." I waved at the bus, but it didn't stop for me.
2. To move or swing something up and down, back and forth in the direction of someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "wave" and "at." Please don't wave that stick at other people like that—you might hurt someone! We waved our flags and banners at the helicopters passing overhead.
See also: wave
1. To wave one's hand as a signal for someone or something to move away (from someone or something else). A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "away." He came up to talk to me while I was still studying the report, so I had to just wave him away. A police officer stood in the road waving cars away from the scene of the accident.
2. To wave one's hand around in the air in order to dispel something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "away." We spent the entire afternoon trudging through the swamp, waving away the flies and mosquitos. I need both my hands to fix this motor, so would you mind waving that smoke away from my face for me?
3. To dismiss or disregard something with an indifferent, apathetic, or aloof attitude or demeanor. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "away." I tried to warn the boss about the financial implications of such a move, but he just waved away my concerns. You can't just keep waving these problems away, Sarah. You'll have to deal with them eventually.
1. To wave one's hand back and forth in response to someone else. I waved back at the man, even though I had no idea who he was. The sight of my parents waving goodbye on the pier as my ship pulled away broke my heart, and I could barely remain composed enough to wave back.
2. To wave one's hand as a signal for someone or something to move back (from someone or something else). A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "back." Several people started crowding around the injured man, so I waved them back to give him some space. A police officer stood in the road waving cars away from the scene of the accident.
To signal with one's hand for someone or something to stop or come over to one's location. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "down." I managed to wave a car down to help me fix my tire on the side of the road. We're already running late, so let's just wave down a cab.
wave goodbye to (someone or something)
1. Literally, to wave to someone when parting. Wave goodbye to your friends, sweetie. They're at the window.
2. 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?
wave of the future
Something that will become increasingly popular and/or trendy in the future. Fashion editors are predicting that this style of dress is the wave of the future. Do you think those views on healthcare represent the wave of the future?
1. To signal with one's hand for someone or something to stand back or move away. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "off." The police officer stood at the entrance of the building waving off onlookers and reporters. I had to keep waving the birds off as they tried to get some of the food from our picnic.
2. To dismiss, ignore, or evade something, especially a question. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "off." The president waved the question off and moved on to the next one. Please don't just wave off this issue during the meeting—people deserve an answer.
3. To signal goodbye to someone as they depart. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "off." You used to be able to go all the way to the gate of the airplane to wave people off, but now you can't even go through security with them. We all stood outside the house waving off our guests as they drove away.
To signal with one's hand for someone or something to continue or proceed with their current course. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "on." The police officer waved us on as soon as the other cars had passed through the intersection. We need a team of volunteers to stand at certain parts of the race and wave on competitors so they don't get lost.
wave the bloody shirt
To encourage violence and animosity. The phrase was especially popular during the US Civil War. Primarily heard in US. A lot of people in our country are waving the bloody shirt right now, but I just can't support acts of violence, however justified they may be.
wave the flag
To stand up for, support, or defend someone or something. A number of people from the actor's hometown are arriving into New York to wave the flag at his debut performance on Broadway. My country is often a target for insults or gibes abroad, so whenever I go traveling I make a point of waving the flag for it.
To signal with one's hand for someone or something to continue or proceed through some place or thing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wave" and "through." The police officer waved through cars at the intersection in lieu of the traffic lights. You'll need to check everyone's ID at the entrance and wave them through if they are supposed to be there.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
COMMON If you make waves, you change a situation by doing things in a very different way, often in a way that disturbs some people. Maathai has a history of making waves. In 1971 she became the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a PhD. They are part of the new breed of furniture makers who are starting to make waves on the British scene. Note: You sometimes use this expression to suggest that this is making things better or more exciting.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
make waves1 create a significant impression. 2 cause trouble. informal
1 1997 Spectator Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the old pros disguised as new boys and girls who are making the biggest waves.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
make ˈwaves(informal) be active in a way that makes people notice you, and that may sometimes cause problems: It’s taken us a long time to find an answer to this problem, so please don’t make waves now.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
tv. to cause difficulty. (Often in the negative.) If you make waves too much around here, you won’t last long.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
To cause a disturbance or controversy.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
make waves, to
To create a disturbance; to shake up the existing state of affairs. This twentieth-century Americanism is well on its way to clichédom. Alison Lurie used it in Love and Friendship (1962): “I think it will be best if she tells him herself . . . we don’t want to make waves.”
See also: make
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer