wait on

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wait on (someone or something)

1. To serve a customer or patron. Is anyone waiting on table one?
2. To be awaiting someone or something in particular, and thus unable to proceed. I'm waiting on Carrie's response, so I don't have an answer to your question yet.
3. To visit someone in a formal show of respect. We must wait on the prince during his birthday festivities.
See also: on, wait

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

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.
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.
Captain Carpenter mounted up one day And rode straightway into a stranger rogue That looked unchristian but be that as may The Captain did not wait upon prologue.
The personal nature of medical practice in early America was demonstrated by a doctor who, in setting up his practice, advertised that he would be glad to wait upon the public but that his first concern was for "his friends in particular."
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."
If you follow his advice, to "wait upon the Lord' be strong, and let your heart take courage," then you will find God does care and then you can go out and share that good news with others.
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.
But, as in so many other things, we have to wait upon London to implement a policy that could help us beat a killer which claims so many lives here.
Servants stand to wait upon superiors, especially the guest of honor.
A deputation was appointed to wait upon the Wolverhampton Corporation on the subject.