wax

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun a semi-solid or solid substance of animal, plant or mineral origin
  • verb to appear to grow bigger as more of the illuminated face becomes visible.

Cars & Driving

  • noun a substance resembling beeswax in appearance and character, and in general distinguished by its composition of esters and higher alcohols, and by its freedom from fatty acids; used for underbody sealing, cavity sealing, and paintwork care

Construction

  • A material obtained from vegetable, mineral, and animal matter that is soluble in organic solvents, and solid at room temperature. Wax is applied in a liquid or paste form on wood and metal surfaces to provide gloss, and to protect the surface.

Electronics

  • A smooth solid or semisolid substance featuring a low melting point and thermoplastic qualities. A wax may be natural or synthetic, and specific examples include paraffin wax, earth wax, and ceresin. Used, for instance as dielectrics, insulators, for waterproofing, or as a potting material.

Media Studies

  • noun a gramophone record

Medical

  • noun a soft yellow substance produced by bees or made from petroleum

Travel

  • noun a solid substance made from fat or oil, used for making candles, polish, etc.
  • verb to cover floors, skis, etc. with wax

Origin & History of “wax”

Wax ‘soft oily substance’ (OE) and the now archaic wax ‘grow, become’ (OE) are distinct words. The former comes (together with German wachs, Dutch was, Swedish vax, and Danish vox) from a prehistoric Germanic *wakhsam. this in turn was descended from the Indo-European *weg- ‘weave’ (source also of English veil). Wax originally referred specifically to ‘bees-wax’, and the word’s underlying etymological reference is to the combs ‘woven’ from wax by bees. Russian and Czech vosk ‘wax’ come from the same ultimate source. The verb wax goes back to the Indo-European base *woks-, a variant of which has given English auction and augment. Although it has largely died out in English, its relatives in the other Germanic languages (meaning ‘grow’) are still very much alive: German wachsen, Dutch wassen, Swedish vāxa, and Danish vokse.
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