The expression "wax and wane" refers to the cyclical increase and decrease in intensity, size, or extent, much like the moon's phases. The word "wax" means to grow or increase, while "wane" means to decrease or diminish. It can be applied in various contexts, from one's emotions and interest levels to economic trends and the popularity of trends.
"Wax and wane" refers to the increase and decrease or the rise and fall in strength, intensity, or numbers.
The phrase "wax and wane" is often used to describe a cyclical increase and decrease in the intensity or quantity of a particular phenomenon, condition, or attribute. Derived from astronomical terminology, "wax" refers to the growing phase of the moon, while "wane" denotes its shrinking phase. When applied metaphorically, the phrase captures the ebb and flow or the rise and fall of various aspects of life, such as popularity, fortune, or emotions.
Let's dive into its core meanings and usage:
While it's mainly used to discuss cycles or repetitive patterns, it's versatile enough to be used in a variety of scenarios.
The phrase “wax and wane” refers to the phases of the moon and dates back to the 14th century. The term “wax” is derived from the Old English “weaxan,” which means to grow or increase, and is related to the German word “wachsen.” The term “wane” comes from the Old English “wanian,” meaning to lessen. The phrase has been used to describe anything that undergoes periodic cycles of growth and decline, similar to the moon’s visible size in the sky.
"...His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore, till moon shall wax and wane no more" - A Selection from Tate and Brady's Version of the Psalms
Here are some examples showcasing how this idiom can be used:
This idiom has appeared in various forms of media and entertainment:
It refers to the periodic increase and decrease, especially when talking about the moon's phases.
It has its roots in Old English, particularly relating to the moon's phases.
Yes, it can describe fluctuating emotions, among other things.
Yes, it's a poetic way to describe cyclical changes and is still used in literature and everyday language.
Yes, words like "fluctuate" and "ebb and flow" can be used similarly.
Yes, artists like The Beatles have touched upon the concept in their lyrics.
Indeed, it can describe the ups and downs of economic or business scenarios.
The cyclical pattern of the moon is a direct visual representation.
Many languages have idioms that describe cyclical changes, though the exact wording may differ.
While its origins are in Old English, the concept is universal and is understood in various cultures.
"Wax and wane" is derived from the cyclical growth and diminishment of the moon's visible shape. The phrase has been adopted in broader contexts to describe anything that undergoes regular cycles of increase and decrease. The idiom beautifully captures the cyclical nature of many things in life.
Here's a quick wrap-up: