Word Origin & History
c.1200, "to watch with hostile intent, lie in wait for," from O.N.Fr. waitier "to watch" (Fr. guetter), from Frank. *wahton (cf. Du. wacht "a watching," O.H.G. wahten, Ger. wachten "to watch, to guard;" O.H.G. wahhon "to watch, be awake," O.E. wacian "to be awake;" see
(v.)). General sense of "remain in some place" is from 1375; meaning "serve as an attendant at a table" is from 1568. The noun is first attested c.1300. To wait (something) out "endure a period of waiting" is recorded from 1909, originally Amer.Eng., in ref. to baseball batters trying to draw a base on balls. Waiting game is recorded from 1890. Waiting room is attested from 1683. Waiting list is recorded from 1897; the verb wait-list "to put (someone) on a waiting list" is recorded from 1960.