in waiting

Idioms & Phrases

in waiting

In attendance, especially on a royal personage. For example, The prelates who were in waiting asked him to take the last rites. This usage has become less common with the diminution of royalty and royal courts but still survives. [Late 1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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