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Waxing and waning is a phrase less used now but more used many years ago

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    Wax and wane are ancient verbs meaning grow and lessen, respectively. They are now little used except in connection with the moon, which waxes during the first half of its cycle and wanes during the second. Wax and wane means increase and decrease, as in size, number, strength, or intensity, as in “Enrollments in these programs wax and wane from year to year.” This expression alludes to the phases of the moon, with its periodic changes in size. It was first recorded in the 1300s.
    – user 66974
    May 3 at 21:07
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    "Wax and wane" even has its own dictionary entry. If you want the etymology then you'll need an etymological dictionary wax | wane.
    – Andrew Leach
    May 3 at 21:26
  • I would have said changes in visible area, but yes.
    – Jim
    May 3 at 21:32
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    @user66974 - "now little used except in connection with the moon" - I don't know about that. After a drink or two, I sometimes wax lyrical, and I think my chances of getting a Nobel prize for literature are waning. May 3 at 21:45

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