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Hi dear English learners! Here we are again. Are you impatiently waiting for a new lesson? Well, here it is. It is about 25 ways to use the verb wait; it includes collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms, as well as synonyms, which will boost your vocabulary in a lot of ways.

Let’s get started!

How many different words can we use instead of wait? Well, quite a few. For example, if we want to tell someone to wait for us for a short while, we can tell them to hold on or hang on. We can hear these phrases, especially the latter one, a lot in telephone conversations.

  • Hang on a minute. I’ll be right back.
  • Hold on a second. I’ll put you through.

We can ask someone to stay somewhere and wait for something.

  • Stay here until the delivery arrives. I have to go.

We can also use the formal word await.  We normally use it in formal written correspondence.

  • We’re impatiently awaiting your response.
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT

Collocations with wait

First of all, don’t forget to use the preposition for with wait.

Don’t say: I’m waiting a friend.

Say: I’m waiting for a friend.

Let’s look at adverbs we normally use with the verb wait: long, patiently/impatiently, nervously,  eagerly, for ages, etc.

  • You never wait too long, when you wait for something good. ( a proverb)
  • The dog was patiently waiting for his master to show up from the supermarket.
  • We’re all sitting and impatiently waiting to hear the latest news about the tsunami.
  • On the day of the wedding, she kept him nervously waiting outside the church.
  • The children were eagerly waiting for their turn to play tennis.
  • We’ve been waiting for ages in that queue at the supermarket.
Keep someone waiting

If you keep someone waiting, then you make them wait before you are ready to meet them.

  • The interviewer kept us waiting for more than an hour outside his office.
Wait in vain

If somebody is waiting in vain, they are waiting without any success.

  • She cried day and night waiting in vain for her dog to come back home.
Wait with bated breath 

The phrase refers to waiting while you are feeling excited or anxious.

  • Amanda waited with bated breath for the results of the competition.
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT

Phrasal verbs with WAIT

Wait about / around

not doing anything else but expecting something to happen or someone to arrive.

  • They were waiting about at the airport for two hours when they announced the plane from New York was about to land.
  • There was a long queue of people waiting around for a phone call.
Wait behind

to stay in a place after everyone else has gone, especially to talk to someone in private.

  • Clare waited behind when the others left because she wanted to talk to the manager in private.
  • The biology teacher made Brian wait behind after the classes to talk to him.
Wait in

to stay at home expecting someone to call or come.

  • Sandra was waiting in all morning expecting Michael’s call.
  • I can’t go with you. I have to wait in for the plumber.
Wait on

to serve customers in a restaurant or a cafe.

  • Before I applied for this job I was waiting on in a restaurant.
  • Will somebody wait on us? We’re in a hurry.
Wait out

to wait somewhere where you are safe until something bad ends.

  • During the war, they spent hours waiting out in the shelter.
  • We should go to the basement to wait out the storm.
Wait up

to stay awake waiting for someone to come.

  • Mary’s mother waited up all night to see the doctor after her daughter’s operation.
  • Michale told me not to wait up because he’s coming late.
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT

Idioms with WAIT

Wait and see

This phrase means to wait in order to find out what will happen.

  • I suppose there’s nothing we can do about it now so we’ll just have to wait and see.
  • We just have to wait and see what’s going to happen before we make any conclusions.
Waiting in the wings

waiting readily for the opportunity to take a position or do something.

  • Henry has been waiting in the wings for years to take over the business after his father retires.
  • The police are waiting in the wings to arrest the smugglers.
Wait for the dust to settle

​to wait until things get back to normal after a conflict or a problem.

  • Paul wanted to wait for the dust to settle before reaching the final decision.
  • It might be better to wait until the dust settles before we launch another product.
Just you wait!

used as a warning or a threat to someone.

  • Just you wait till I tell your father what you did.

It can also use the expression to tell someone that you are sure something will happen.

  • I’m going to be famous one day. Just you wait!
Wait on someone hand and foot

to serve someone very well, even when it’s unreasonable.

  • Martha was one of those women who was waiting on her husband hand and foot.
  • He had everything he could ever wish for, including servants waiting on him hand and foot.
Time and tide wait for no man / no one

A saying that reminds us that time is passing by and we should not procrastinate in doing things.

  • You should accept this golden opportunity because who knows when the next one will come up. Time and tide wait for no man.
  • Hurry up or there’ll be no tickets left when we arrive. Time and tide wait for no one. Don’t you know that?
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT
25 Ways to Use the Verb WAIT

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