waive. Part A: Narrowing of Sense. This word has undergone what linguists call “specialization,” its primary sense having gotten narrower with time. Originally, “waive” was just as broad as “abandon” {the fleeing thief waived the stolen goods}. But today, “waive” means “to relinquish voluntarily (something that one has the right to expect)” {the popular entertainer waived her usual fee}. Part B: Confused with “wave.” “Waive” sometimes occurs where “wave” (= to move to and fro, esp. with the hand) belongs — e.g.: o “The wife sat down and the presiding priest, waiving [read ‘waving’] aside the husband’s lawyer as he had the wife’s, asked to hear the husband’s side of the case.” John R. Allison, “Five Ways to Keep Disputes Out of Court,” Harv. Bus. Rev., Jan.-Feb. 1990, at 166. o “But a new bidder — the Blockbuster Bowl, sponsored by the video store chain — threw the deal into doubt by waiving [read ‘waving’] a few extra dollars before the noses of our institutions of higher learning.” Frederick C. Klein, “Who Cares Who’s No. 1?” Wall Street J., 3 Jan. 1992, at A5. Language-Change Index — “waive” misused for “wave”: Stage 1. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ————————————— Quotation of the Day: “The knowledge of grammar is perfected by frequent parsing, which at the same time gives the learner an adequate idea of the import and construction of every sentence.” G. Neville Ussher, The Element of English Grammar vi (1803). —————————————
Scroll to Top