Word of the Day: Wax

wax
wax / wăks

noun
1. a solid, fatty substance, of natural organic origin, that melts when heated
Politeness is what warmth is to wax.
German Proverb

2. a solid, oily substance composed largely of hydrocarbons, found in mineral layers, such as paraffin wax or ozocerite, that melts when heated
The same heat that melts wax, bakes clay.
French Proverb

3. a resin, that melts when heated, used to seal letters, documents, etc.
As soft wax is apt to take the stamp of the seal, so are the minds of young children to receive the instruction imprinted on them.
Plutarch, 45 – 120

4. a product containing or resembling natural wax, used for polishing, hardening, stiffening, etc.
American consumers have no problem with carcinogens, but they will not purchase any product, including floor wax, that has fat in it.
Dave Barry, 1947 –

5. a beauty treatment to remove unwanted hair by applying a layer of wax to pull out hair
A man will go to war, fight and die for his country, but he won’t get a bikini wax.
Rita Rudner, 1955 –

6. something that is easily shaped or moldable
My heart is wax molded as she pleases, but enduring as marble to retain.
From “The Little Gypsy” by Miguel de Cervantes, 1547 – 1616

verb
1. to cover or rub with wax
Writers are notorious for using any reason to keep from working: over- researching, retyping, going to meetings, waxing the floors – anything.
Gloria Steinem. 1934 –

2. to remove unwanted hair by covering it with softened wax, allowing the wax to harden, and then peeling
I tell my girlfriends – ‘Imagine if all the time you put into waxing and primping, you took all of that energy and put it into something useful.’
Isla Fisher, 1976 –

3. to gradually increase in size, quantity, intensity, degree or strength
I seek not to wax great by others’ waning.
From “King Henry VI, Part 2” by William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

4. to show a gradually increasing illuminated area of the moon, during the period between the new moon and the full moon phase
Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
Tomorrow be today.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882

5. to grow or become
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

adjective
1. made of wax
Education without courage is like a wax statue – beautiful to look at but bound to melt at the first touch of a hot stuff.
Mahatma Gandhi, 1869 – 1948

Etymology
wax: as a substance, from the Anglo-Saxon noun weax; as a verb, from the Anglo-Saxon verb weaxan (see the German verb wachsen [grow, increase]).
Thank you to Allen Ward for providing this etymology.