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From Middle English awaiten, from Old Northern French awaitier (to lie in wait for, watch, observe), originally especially with a hostile sense; itself from a- (to) + waitier (to watch).[1] More at English wait.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈwɛɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪt


await (third-person singular simple present awaits, present participle awaiting, simple past and past participle awaited)

  1. (transitive, formal) To wait for.
    I await your reply to my letter.
  2. (transitive) To expect.
  3. (transitive) To be in store for; to be ready or in waiting for.
    Glorious rewards await the good in heaven; eternal suffering awaits mortal sinners in hell.
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, chapter I, in The House Behind the Cedars:
      Standing foursquare in the heart of the town, at the intersection of the two main streets, a "jog" at each street corner left around the market-house a little public square, which at this hour was well occupied by carts and wagons from the country and empty drays awaiting hire.
    • 1674, John Milton, “Book XI”, in Paradise Lost:
      O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh.
  4. (transitive, intransitive) To serve or attend; to wait on, wait upon.
  5. (intransitive) To watch, observe.
  6. (intransitive) To wait; to stay in waiting.

Usage notes[edit]

  • As await means to wait for, it is not followed by "for". *I am awaiting for your reply is therefore incorrect.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


await (plural awaits)

  1. (obsolete) A waiting for; ambush.
  2. (obsolete) Watching, watchfulness, suspicious observation.
    • a. 1472, Thomas Malory, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book VII, [London: [] by William Caxton], published 31 July 1485, OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034:
      Also, madame, syte you well that there be many men spekith of oure love in this courte, and have you and me gretely in awayte, as thes Sir Aggravayne and Sir Mordred.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.6:
      For all that night, the whyles the Prince did rest […] He watcht in close awayt with weapons prest […].


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “await”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.