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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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
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.