30 Idioms for Waiting

From “killing time” to “waiting for the fat lady to sing,” each idiom carries a story of anticipation and patience.

So, buckle up, and let’s embark on this journey through the art of waiting.

30 idioms for waiting

Idioms for Waiting

Kill Time

Meaning: To pass the time with something to do.

In a Sentence: She decided to kill time at the airport by reading a gripping novel.

Bide One’s Time

Meaning: To wait patiently for the right opportunity.

In a Sentence: He knew success would come if he could bide his time and seize the perfect moment.

Wait with Bated Breath

Meaning: To wait anxiously or eagerly.

In a Sentence: The fans waited with bated breath for the final score of the championship game.

Twiddle One’s Thumbs

Meaning: To wait idly or impatiently.

In a Sentence: As the clock ticked away, she couldn’t help but twiddle her thumbs, nervous about the interview.

Wait on Tenterhooks

Meaning: To wait anxiously or nervously.

In a Sentence: The students were waiting on tenterhooks for the exam results.

Wait in the Wings

Meaning: To wait to come on stage or enter a situation.

In a Sentence: The understudy patiently waited in the wings for her chance to shine on the theater stage.

Wait for the Other Shoe to Drop

Meaning: To wait for the next event or outcome.

In a Sentence: After the shocking revelation, everyone was waiting for the other shoe to drop in the scandal.

Wait on Hand and Foot

Meaning: To wait attentively and serve someone.

In a Sentence: The dedicated butler waited on hand and foot, ensuring the guests had everything they needed.

Wait with Open Arms

Meaning: To welcome someone eagerly.

In a Sentence: The family waited with open arms for their loved ones to arrive for the holidays.

Wait in Vain

Meaning: To wait without success.

In a Sentence: She realized she had been waiting in vain for the package that got lost in transit.

Wait for Your Ship to Come In

Meaning: To wait for something good to happen to you.

In a Sentence: Despite setbacks, he kept waiting for his ship to come in, believing in better days.

Wait for the Dust to Settle

Meaning: To wait for things to become clear.

In a Sentence: In times of uncertainty, it’s wise to wait for the dust to settle before making decisions.

Wait for the Green Light

Meaning: To wait for permission or approval to proceed.

In a Sentence: The project team eagerly waited for the green light from the manager to launch their innovative idea.

Wait for the Paint to Dry

Meaning: To wait for something to finish or be completed.

In a Sentence: He advised her to be patient and wait for the paint to dry before touching the freshly painted wall.

Wait on (Someone)

Meaning: To wait for someone to make a move or a decision.

In a Sentence: The investors had to wait on the CEO before finalizing the business strategy.

Wait for the Clock to Strike

Meaning: To wait for a specific time to arrive.

In a Sentence: As the clock ticked, they waited for the midnight hour to celebrate the New Year.

Wait in Line

Meaning: To wait in a queue for one’s turn.

In a Sentence: They patiently waited in line for tickets to the highly anticipated concert.

Wait on (Something)

Meaning: To wait for something to happen.

In a Sentence: The farmers anxiously waited on rainfall to nourish their crops during the dry spell.

Wait on Pins and Needles

Meaning: To feel anxious while waiting.

In a Sentence: She was waiting on pins and needles for the results of her college application.

Wait with Baited Breath

Meaning: To wait eagerly or anxiously.

In a Sentence: The entire town waited with baited breath as the spaceship touched down for the first time.

Wait Your Turn

Meaning: To wait patiently until it’s one’s turn.

In a Sentence: In a crowded room, it’s essential to wait your turn and not cut in line.

Wait for the Storm to Pass

Meaning: To wait for a difficult situation to end.

In a Sentence: During tough times, it’s crucial to stay strong and wait for the storm to pass.

Wait for the Right Moment

Meaning: To wait for an opportune time to take action.

In a Sentence: He chose to wait for the right moment to propose, making it unforgettable.

Wait for the Writing on the Wall

Meaning: To see an impending event that is not welcomed.

In a Sentence: Ignoring the warnings was like refusing to wait for the writing on the wall.

Wait for the Smoke to Clear

Meaning: To wait for a situation to become clear.

In a Sentence: Amidst the confusion, they decided to wait for the smoke to clear before making decisions.

Wait for the Cat to Jump

Meaning: To wait for an unpredictable event.

In a Sentence: Life is full of surprises; sometimes, you just have to wait for the cat to jump.

Wait for the Fat Lady to Sing

Meaning: To wait until the end of something before making a judgment.

In a Sentence: They knew the game wasn’t over until the last minute; it was a classic case of waiting for the fat lady to sing.

Wait for the Grass to Grow Under Your Feet

Meaning: To wait too long before taking action.

In a Sentence: Don’t wait for the grass to grow under your feet – seize the opportunity when it arises.

Wait for the Water to Boil

Meaning: To wait for something to happen that may take time.

In a Sentence: In a world of instant gratification, some things still require patience, like waiting for the water to boil.

Wait for the Rug to Be Pulled From Under You

Meaning: To wait for an unexpected twist of events.

In a Sentence: Life is unpredictable; sometimes, you have to be ready for the rug to be pulled from under you.

Summary

IdiomMeaning
Kill TimeTo pass the time with something to do
Bide One’s TimeTo wait patiently for the right opportunity
Wait with Bated BreathTo wait anxiously or eagerly
Twiddle One’s ThumbsTo wait idly or impatiently
Wait on TenterhooksTo wait anxiously or nervously
Wait in the WingsTo wait to come on stage or enter a situation
Wait for the Other Shoe to DropTo wait for the next event or outcome
Wait on Hand and FootTo wait attentively and serve someone
Wait with Open ArmsTo welcome someone eagerly
Wait in VainTo wait without success
Wait for Your Ship to Come InTo wait for something good to happen to you
Wait for the Dust to SettleTo wait for things to become clear
Wait for the Green LightTo wait for permission or approval to proceed
Wait for the Paint to DryTo wait for something to finish or be completed
Wait on (Someone)To wait for someone to make a move or a decision
Wait for the Clock to StrikeTo wait for a specific time to arrive
Wait in LineTo wait in a queue for one’s turn
Wait on (Something)To wait for something to happen
Wait on Pins and NeedlesTo feel anxious while waiting
Wait with Baited BreathTo wait eagerly or anxiously
Wait Your TurnTo wait patiently until it’s one’s turn
Wait for the Storm to PassTo wait for a difficult situation to end
Wait for the Right MomentTo wait for an opportune time to take action
Wait for the Writing on the WallTo see an impending event that is not welcomed
Wait for the Smoke to ClearTo wait for a situation to become clear
Wait for the Cat to JumpTo wait for an unpredictable event
Wait for the Fat Lady to SingTo wait until the end of something before making a judgment
Wait for the Grass to Grow Under Your FeetTo wait too long before taking action
Wait for the Water to BoilTo wait for something to happen that may take time
Wait for the Rug to Be Pulled From Under YouTo wait for an unexpected twist of events

Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve just journeyed through the myriad idioms for waiting, each painting a picture of patience and anticipation. In the realm of waiting, we find a rich tapestry of expressions that capture the essence of human experience.

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