Word Confusion: Waive versus Wave

Posted October 8, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

There’s waiving and then there’s waving, and neither of them are the same. One is more often used in a legal sense of giving up while the other acts as a signal.

Please do not confuse these two, as it is so negative to find someone waiving to another. Now, if the character had merely been waving to another, I’d be thinking they were right friendly.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Waive Wave
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster: waive

A sign that reads keep calm and waive the setup fee

Image courtesy of THE KEEP CALM-O-MATIC

Some of my favorite words: waive the fee.

Wave crashing against rocks

A public domain image by Earth Network Editor at English Wikipedia and transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons, via Wikimedia Commons.

A wave crashing on the Cornish shore.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, transitive

Third person present verb: waives
Past tense or past participle: waived
Gerund or present participle: waiving

Noun 1; Verb, intransitive & transitive 2

Noun plural: waves
Third person present verb: waves
Past tense or past participle: waved
Gerund or present participle: waving

Refrain from insisting on or using a right or claim

  • Refrain from applying or enforcing a rule, restriction, or fee
  • Surrender a right or or claim
  • Put off from immediate consideration

Throw away stolen goods

[Archaic] To shunt aside as a danger or duty

Dismiss with, or as if with, a wave of the hand

Place a ball player on waivers

A long body of water curling into an arched form and breaking on the shore

  • A ridge of water between two depressions in open water
  • A shape seen as comparable to a breaking wave
  • [Usually, the wave] An effect resembling a moving wave produced by successive sections of the crowd in a stadium standing up, raising their arms, lowering them, and sitting down again
  • [The waves; literary] The sea
  • A sudden occurrence of or increase in a specified phenomenon, feeling, or emotion

A gesture or signal made by moving one’s hand to and fro

A slightly curling lock of hair

  • A tendency to curl in a person’s hair

[Physics] A periodic disturbance of the particles of a substance that may be propagated without net movement of the particles, such as in the passage of undulating motion, heat, or sound

  • A single curve in the course of a wave
  • A variation of an electromagnetic field in the propagation of light or other radiation through a medium or vacuum

Verb, intransitive:
Move one’s hand to and fro in greeting or as a signal

  • Move to and fro with a swaying or undulating motion while remaining fixed to one point
  • To follow a curving line or take a wavy form

[Of hair] Grow with a slight curl

Float, play or shake in an air current

[Water] To move in waves

Verb, transitive:
Move one’s hand or arm, or something held in one’s hand to and fro

  • Convey a greeting or other message by moving one’s hand or something held in it to and fro
  • To motion to someone to go in an indicated direction or to stop
  • Instruct someone to move in a particular direction by moving one’s hand
  • To swing something back and forth or up and down

Style hair so that it curls slightly

He will waive all rights to the money.

Her tuition fees would be waived.

He waived potential rights in the case by signing the waiver.

The selecting team may, at any time, waive the rule 5 draftee.

He waived away all thought of Jessica with another man.

Don’t you go making waves about this!

Lazily, waves curled onto the sandy shore and washed back into the sea.

Gulls and cormorants bobbed on the waves.

A wave of treetops stretched to the horizon.

The crowd did the wave as they yelled for their team.

“Just take your time – wave comes. Let the other guys go, catch another one.” – Duke Kahanamoku

A wave of strikes had effectively paralyzed the government.

Horror came over me in waves.

He gave a little wave and walked off.

His hair was drying in unruly waves.

Her hair has a slight natural wave.

Traveling waves are observed when a wave is not confined to a given space along the medium.

A sine wave has a pattern that repeats.

Verb, intransitive:
He waved to me from the train.

The flag waved in the wind.

Thick, waving gray hair sprouted back from his forehead.

Verb, transitive:
He waved a sheaf of papers in the air.

We waved our farewells.

She waved him goodbye.

He waved her back.

The officer waved him down to pull over.

Her hair had been carefully waved for the evening.

Noun: waiver Adjective: waveless, waving, wavelike
Adverb: wavelike
Verb, intransitive: waver
Phrasal Verb
wave something aside
wave someone down
wave something down
History of the Word:
First known use: 14th century
Middle English weiven meaning to decline, reject, give up and was originally a legal term relating to removal of the protection of the law, from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French gaiver meaning allow to become a waif, stray, lost, abandon.
First known use: before 12th century

1 An alteration influenced by the verb of Middle English wawe meaning (sea) wave.

2 Old English wafian meaning to wave with the hands and akin to the Old English wæfan meaning to clothe and perhaps to the Old English wefan meaning to weave, from the Germanic base of waver

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?