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I thought if you wanted someone to wait for you, you would say, "wait for me". However, I've heard/seen a lot of people speak/write "wait up" instead. Is "wait up" correct English?

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Correct or not, it is redundant; just say "Wait!" –  Emre Apr 12 '11 at 8:10
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@Emre. It's not redundant, It has the effect of softening the request. –  trideceth12 Apr 12 '11 at 8:42
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This question is easily answered using a dictionary... –  Jason Orendorff Apr 12 '11 at 8:59
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I think this is a pretty common colloquialism in American English. The equivalent British English term would be "hold on" or "hold on a minute" –  MikeJ-UK Apr 12 '11 at 12:21
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"Hang on" also works in British English. (cf. @MikeJ-UK) –  sampablokuper Apr 12 '11 at 16:02
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

According to Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner's English Dictionary:

wait up

  1. If you wait up, you deliberately do not go to bed, especially because you are expecting someone to return home late at night.
  2. If you ask someone to wait up, you are asking them to go more slowly or to stop and wait for you [AM, INFORMAL]
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I thought it was incorrect but am pleasantly surprised to find that it does have a meaning! Thanks to all comments and answers. –  Regmi Apr 14 '11 at 6:30
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Actually "Wait up" comes when

1.To postpone going to bed in anticipation of something or someone.
2. Informal To stop or pause so that another can catch up: Let's wait up for the stragglers.

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In the Keifer Sutherland remake of "The Three Musketeers," critics were highly displeased by an anachronistic scene in which D'Artagnan shouts, "Hey guys, wait up!" –  The Raven Apr 12 '11 at 15:02
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