Mexican wave

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Popularised during the 1986 FIFA World Cup held in Mexico.


Mexican wave (plural Mexican waves)

  1. (Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand) A phenomenon that primarily occurs at sports events, where the members of the crowd stand up and/or raise their hands in turn, creating the illusion of a wave passing through the crowd.
    • 1995, Shane Cloude, An Introduction to Electromagnetic Wave Propagation & Antennas, Springer, 0-387-91501-X, pages 3–4,
      This is an important idea and can best be illustrated by analogy with a Mexican wave. Although the Mexican wave seems to involve the coherent motion of a large number of people, it is clear to those who have been involved, that the “trigger” for an individual to react is entirely spatially and temporally local, i.e. the individual reacts at the appropriate time and space point simply by waiting until his or her neighbours react.
    • 2001, John Morgan, Debrett’s New Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners: The Indispensable Handbook, St. Martin's Press, →ISBN, page 127,
      The usual signals for standing are: at the arrival of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; […]; and every time the Colour passes in front of you. The effect can sometimes be like a rather well-dressed Mexican wave.
    • 2007, Scott Hamilton, An Analog Electronics Companion: Basic Circuit Design for Engineers and Scientists, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 94,
      A Mexican wave travels around a stadium very much more rapidly than a person could.
    • 2009, Justine Vaisutis, Australia, Lonely Planet, page 47,
      Now Australian cricket is reeling from its quadruple loss. Joining the hat trick of players exiting the game in 2007 – once-in-a-lifetime legend Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Damien Martyn – was the Mexican wave. Cricket Australia, which instituted the ban, acknowledged that it could be construed as ‘the fun police gone wrong’ but explained that it was the only way to stop people throwing things.




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

  1. To perform a Mexican wave.