waiting


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in waiting

In attendance or accompaniment, especially as upon a royal or noble personage. The Duke sent one of his servants in waiting to admit his guests into the banquet hall.
See also: waiting

wait upon (someone) hand and foot

To dote upon someone and do everything that they need or want. I don't know if Tom's relationship with Jeremy is healthy. It seems like he's always waiting upon him hand and foot. I hate the way Terrence waits upon the boss hand and foot—what a brown-noser!
See also: and, foot, hand, upon, wait

play the waiting game

To postpone or delay a decision or course of action so as to first see what might happen or what one's opponent(s) might do. The market is rather tumultuous at the moment, so I think we're better off playing the waiting game rather than making any hasty decisions. The prosecution is playing the waiting game to see if the defendant will change her mind about taking the plea bargain.
See also: game, play, waiting

waiting game

A situation where one postpones or delays a decision or course of action so as to first see what might happen or what one's opponent(s) might do. (Often used in the phrase "play a/the waiting game.") The prosecution has submitted a plea bargain to the defendant, so it's a bit of a waiting game at the moment to see if she will take it. The market is rather tumultuous at the moment, so I think we're better off playing the waiting game rather than making any hasty decisions.
See also: game, waiting

wait for dead men's shoes

To await one's inheritance (and thus anticipate another's death). Not that I'm waiting for dead men's shoes, but I'm going to get a lot of money when my grandfather dies.
See also: dead, shoe, wait

an accident waiting to happen

A person, thing, or situation that appears to be imminently dangerous or troublesome. Often but not always used somewhat humorously. Don't leave that ladder in the middle of the yard, it's just an accident waiting to happen! My toddler is starting to walk now, and she is just an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

be waiting in the wings

To be ready and available to help or replace someone. Actors traditionally wait in the wings of the theater before stepping on stage. My assistant is waiting in the wings to take my job once I retire. We'll be waiting in the wings, so just signal us if you need anything during your speech.
See also: waiting, wing

big moment

An occasion that has been eagerly awaited. It's the big moment—they're finally picking the raffle winner! I'm sorry I spoiled your big moment—I had no idea Brad was going to propose.
See also: big, moment

play a waiting game

To postpone or delay a decision or course of action so as to first see what might happen or what one's opponent(s) might do. The market is so tumultuous at the moment that I think we're better off playing a waiting game, rather than making any hasty decisions. The prosecution is playing a waiting game to see if the defendant will change her mind about taking the plea bargain.
See also: game, play, waiting

wait on (someone) hand and foot

To dote on someone and do everything that they want. I don't know if Tom's relationship with Jeremy is healthy. It seems like he's always waiting on him hand and foot. I hate the way Terrence waits on the boss hand and foot—what a toady!
See also: and, foot, hand, on, wait

wait a second

1. Wait or pause for a moment. Can you please wait a second so I can tie my shoe? We waited a second before turning the water back on.
2. A phrase spoken when one has a realization about something they had not thought of until that moment. Wait a second, Jeff said he was driving here, but his car is in the shop. He must have forgotten. Wait a second... these aren't bananas, they're plantains!
See also: second, wait

wait (on) tables

To serve food and drinks to patrons in a restaurant or similar establishment, as of a waiter or waitress. Until I got my first big TV role, I waited tables at a diner in LA.
See also: table, wait

in the wings

Ready and available to help or replace someone. Actors traditionally wait in the wings of the theater before stepping on stage. My assistant is waiting in the wings to take my job once I retire.
See also: wing

big moment

 and moment everyone has been waiting for
the special time that everyone has been waiting for. The big moment has come. I will now announce the winner. This is the moment everyone has been waiting for. Now we will learn the name of the big winner.
See also: big, moment

I felt like a penny waiting for change.

Rur. I felt worthless or helpless. When I lost the race, I felt like a penny waiting for change. My best girl went off with someone else. I felt like a penny waiting for change.
See also: change, felt, like, penny, waiting

It's ill waiting for dead men's shoes.

Prov. You should not be eager for someone to die so that you inherit something. Phil: Why should I bother to learn some kind of trade? I'll be rich when Grandpa dies and leaves me all his money. Alan: It's ill waiting for dead men's shoes.
See also: dead, ill, shoe, waiting

on the waiting list

 and on the wait list
[for someone's name to be] on a list of people waiting for an opportunity to do something. I couldn't get a seat on the plane, but I got on the waiting list. There is no room for you, but we can put your name on the waiting list.
See also: list, on, waiting

waiting in the wings

Fig. ready or prepared to do something, especially to take over someone else's job or position. Mr. Smith retires as manager next year, and Mr. Jones is just waiting in the wings. Jane was waiting in the wings, hoping that a member of the hockey team would drop out and she would get a place on the team.
See also: waiting, wing

in the wings

Also, waiting in the wings. Nearby in the background, available on short notice. For example, Some police were in the wings in case of trouble at the rally, or There are at least a dozen young managers waiting in the wings for Harold to retire. This expression alludes to the theater, where a player waits in the wings or backstage area, unseen by the audience, for his or her turn to come on stage. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: wing

in waiting

In attendance, especially on a royal personage. For example, The prelates who were in waiting asked him to take the last rites. This usage has become less common with the diminution of royalty and royal courts but still survives. [Late 1600s]
See also: waiting

play a waiting game

Delay an action or decision so as to force an opponent to move or to gain additional information. For example, The lawyer advised her to play a waiting game and see if her husband would come up with more alimony . [Late 1800s]
See also: game, play, waiting

an accident waiting to happen

COMMON
1. If you describe a situation or activity as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to be a cause of danger in the future. A lot of the city's buildings are accidents waiting to happen. The sudden explosion of a real bullet on stage during the play was an accident waiting to happen.
2. If you describe a person as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to cause trouble or have bad problems. He was getting a reputation for being wild — an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

a waiting game

or

the waiting game

COMMON If you talk about a waiting game or the waiting game, you mean a situation in which someone delays making decisions or taking action because they are waiting to see how the situation develops. For now, it's a waiting game to see what they do next. We can see why Mr Jackson prefers the waiting game, keeping as many options open as possible. Note: People often say that they play a waiting game. I propose to play a waiting game, and hope that a few of the pieces of this puzzle will soon begin to fit together.
See also: game, waiting

be waiting for the other shoe to drop

AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If you are waiting for the other shoe to drop, one very bad thing has already happened and you are expecting another bad thing to happen soon. People are already on edge, and they're waiting for the other shoe to drop. Note: The idea in this expression is that you almost never hear only one footstep; another usually follows.
See also: drop, other, shoe, waiting

be waiting in the wings

COMMON If someone is waiting in the wings, they are waiting for an opportunity to take action, especially to take over another person's job. The last time Joe Clark stepped down as leader, Brian Mulroney was waiting in the wings. He was one of a number of young, up-and-coming American players who were waiting in the wings for the next Major Championship. Compare with in the wings. Note: In a theatre, the wings are the hidden areas to the left and right of a stage, where the actors wait before going on to the stage.
See also: waiting, wing

in the wings

If something is in the wings, it is about to happen or be made public. More bad news could be in the wings in the form of rises in licence fees. Compare with be waiting in the wings. Note: In a theatre, the wings are the hidden areas to the left and right of a stage, where the actors wait before going on to the stage.
See also: wing

an accident waiting to happen

1 a potentially disastrous situation, usually caused by negligent or faulty procedures. 2 a person certain to cause trouble.
1 1997 Times Accidents are often said to be ‘waiting to happen’. It does not take much imagination to see that the chaotic start to the Whitbread round-the-world race…could easily have ended in tragedy.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

play a waiting game

employ the tactic of refraining from action for a time in order to act more effectively at a later date or stage.
2003 E. L. Skip Knox The Punic Wars If the Romans were to play a waiting game, refusing to meet him in open battle, then his plans would go awry.
See also: game, play, waiting

in the wings

ready to do something or to be used at the appropriate time.
This idiom comes from the theatre, in which the wings here are the areas screened from public view where actors wait for their cue to come on stage.
See also: wing

an ˌaccident/a diˌsaster waiting to ˈhappen

a thing or person that is very likely to cause danger or a problem in the future because of the condition it is in or the way they behave: For many months local residents had been complaining that the building was unsafe, and that it was an accident waiting to happen.

keep somebody ˈwaiting

make somebody wait or be delayed, especially because you arrive late: I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.
See also: keep, somebody, waiting

a ˈwaiting game

a policy of delaying making a decision or doing something because this puts you in a stronger position: They’re playing a waiting game, delaying their offer until they know what the others are offering.
See also: game, waiting

what are we ˈwaiting for?

(spoken) used to suggest that you should all start doing what you have been discussing: Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
See also: waiting, we, what

what are you ˈwaiting for?

(spoken) used to tell somebody to do something now rather than later: If the car needs cleaning, what are you waiting for?
See also: waiting, what

(wait, stand, etc.) in the ˈwings

(wait, etc.) ready to do something, especially to take the place of another person: If the party leader should resign, there are plenty of other politicians waiting in the wings.There are many younger tennis players in the wings, waiting for the chance to show their abilities.
The wings are the areas at either side of the stage that cannot be seen by the audience, where actors wait to come onto the stage.
See also: wing

in waiting

In attendance, especially at a royal court.
See also: waiting

in the wings

1. In the stage wings, unseen by the audience.
2. Close by in the background; available at short notice: a presidential candidate waiting in the wings.
See also: wing
References in periodicals archive ?
We are working with health boards to improve waiting times for diagnostic and therapy services.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: "The majority of patients continue to be waiting less than 26 weeks, and we welcome the 2% improvement in the number waiting less than 26 weeks between May and June.
Without InQuicker, nine out of 10 patients are gambling with the chance of waiting up to three and a half hours in the ER waiting room.
Lame duck Lansley: Page 64 May 2010 20,662 waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment March 2012 28,702 waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment
It's not the number of people waiting that is an indicator of performance - it's the length of time they have been waiting, and the vast majority of patients are seen within target times.
Our waiting for God and for Jesus is to be patient.
Waiting at the check-in for a flight that must be caught
The Assembly Government spokesman said: "It is wrong to suggest that the Health Minister is going to 'suppress' waiting times figures.
Ms Stuart said: "The trust has used the extra cash provided by the Government and turned the problem of waiting lists round and I would like to congratulate all the staff who have worked so hard to make this happen.
There were 687 fewer people waiting at the same time the year before, meaning work still needs to be done if the Government is to meet its pledge that no-one should wait longer than nine months for an operation by March.
The study, Equity in Canadian health care: does socio-economic status affect waiting times for elective surgery?
THE number of people on NHS waiting lists in Scotland has fallen, but patients are facing a longer wait for treatment.
TODAY we uncover the full extent of the NHS waiting list postcode lottery in Wales.
In Waiting in the Wings, Noel Coward makes mischief in a retirement home for actresses
In determining both the appropriate amount of disability coverage and waiting period, it's also important for the client to assess his other financial resources.