beckon vs wave what difference

what is difference between beckon and wave



From Middle English bekenen, beknen, becnen, beknien, from Old English bēacnian, bēcnian, bīecnan (to signal; beckon), from Proto-West Germanic *bauknōn, *bauknijan (to signal), from *baukn (signal; beacon). Cognate with Old Saxon bōknian, Old High German bouhnen, Old Norse bákna. More at beacon.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbɛkən/
  • Rhymes: -ɛkən


beckon (third-person singular simple present beckons, present participle beckoning, simple past and past participle beckoned)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To wave or nod to somebody with the intention to make the person come closer.
    • His distant friends, he beckons near.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To seem attractive and inviting



beckon (plural beckons)

  1. A sign made without words; a beck.
    • c. 1734, Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, A Dissertation on Parties
      At the first beckon.
  2. A children’s game similar to hide and seek in which children who have been “caught” may escape if they see another hider beckon to them.



  • enPR: wāv, IPA(key): /weɪv/
  • Homophone: waive
  • Rhymes: -eɪv

Etymology 1

From Middle English waven, from Old English wafian (to wave, fluctuate, waver in mind, wonder), from Proto-Germanic *wabōną, *wabjaną (to wander, sway), from Proto-Indo-European *webʰ- (to move to and from, wander). Cognate with Middle High German waben (to wave), German wabern (to waft), Icelandic váfa (to fluctuate, waver, doubt). See also waver.


wave (third-person singular simple present waves, present participle waving, simple past and past participle waved)

  1. (intransitive) To move back and forth repeatedly and somewhat loosely.
  2. (intransitive) To move one’s hand back and forth (generally above the shoulders) in greeting or departure.
  3. (transitive, metonymically) To call attention to, or give a direction or command to, by a waving motion, as of the hand; to signify by waving; to beckon; to signal; to indicate.
    • She spoke, and bowing waved / Dismissal.
  4. (intransitive) To have an undulating or wavy form.
  5. (transitive) To raise into inequalities of surface; to give an undulating form or surface to.
  6. (transitive) To produce waves to the hair.
    • There was also hairdressing: hairdressing, too, really was hairdressing in those times — no running a comb through it and that was that. It was curled, frizzed, waved, put in curlers overnight, waved with hot tongs; [].
  7. (intransitive, baseball) To swing and miss at a pitch.
  8. (transitive) To cause to move back and forth repeatedly.
  9. (transitive, metonymically) To signal (someone or something) with a waving movement.
  10. (intransitive, obsolete) To fluctuate; to waver; to be in an unsettled state.
  11. (intransitive, ergative) To move like a wave, or by floating; to waft.
  • wave off
Derived terms
  • waver
Related terms
  • wave the white flag

Etymology 2

From Middle English *wave, partially from waven (to fluctuate, wave) (see above) and partially from Middle English wawe, waghe (wave), from Old English wǣg (a wave, billow, motion, water, flood, sea), from Proto-Germanic *wēgaz (motion, storm, wave), from Proto-Indo-European *weǵʰ- (to drag, carry). Cognate with North Frisian weage (wave, flood, sea), German Woge (wave), French vague (wave) (from Germanic), Gothic ???????????????? (wēgs, a wave). See also waw.


wave (plural waves)

  1. A moving disturbance in the level of a body of liquid; an undulation.
  2. (poetic) The ocean.
    • 1895, Fiona Macleod (William Sharp), The Sin-Eater and Other Tales
      [] your father Murtagh Ross, and his lawful childless wife, Dionaid, and his sister Anna—one and all, they lie beneath the green wave or in the brown mould.
  3. (physics) A moving disturbance in the energy level of a field.
  4. A shape that alternatingly curves in opposite directions.
  5. Any of a number of species of moths in the geometrid subfamily Sterrhinae, which have wavy markings on the wings.
  6. A loose back-and-forth movement, as of the hands.
    He dismissed her with a wave of the hand.
  7. (figuratively) A sudden, but temporary, uptick in something.
    Synonym: rush
  8. (video games, by extension) One of the successive swarms of enemies sent to attack the player in certain games.
  9. (usually “the wave”) A group activity in a crowd imitating a wave going through water, where people in successive parts of the crowd stand and stretch upward, then sit.
  • (an undulation): und (obsolete, rare)
  • (group activity): Mexican wave (chiefly Commonwealth)
Derived terms
Related terms


  • wave at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • wave in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.

Etymology 3

See waive.


wave (third-person singular simple present waves, present participle waving, simple past and past participle waved)

  1. Obsolete spelling of waive

Middle English



  1. Alternative form of waven

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