wax on (wax off?)

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New Member
Twice today I've seen what, to me, are unusual uses of the word "wax", and the dictionary doesn't seem to back them up. I'm curious what exactly the meaning of the word is supposed to be in these two examples, and where this bastardization came from.

On (Wall Street Journal's web site) wsj.com, in the tech section, there is an article by Ben Fritz listed with the title "Sony Pictures Chief Defends Strategy", and the one sentence abstract "Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton waxes on the film and TV unit's tumultuous year, which included attacks from an activist investor and some big-budget flops."

(The word "wax" does not appear in the actual article.)

And there is an article at allthingsd.com titled "Clinging to Outlook, Only 25% of Yahoo Employees Willing to Eat Mail Dogfood (Best Memo Ever!)" by Kara Swisher about a memo that Yahoo execs sent to their employees who have elected not to use Yahoo mail. It essentially says...

" (memo excerpt)

Addressing the miscreants with some oddly phrased flair, they waxed on:

(another memo excerpt) "

I could kind of understand this second use of "wax" in a humorous way. But since I noticed within twenty minutes of the first, and both articles are from this week, it makes me think it's a new trend. Someone on a popular tv show must have misused the word "wax" and now everyone's aping it.
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    In those two examples, the verb wax seems to have been disconnected from its normal following adjective.

    From a yahoo answers post
    One can wax poetic, lyrical, eloquent, philosophical, etc. It's all pretty much the same thing. But finding the origins of this phrase is a bit tricky.
    Added: The freedictionary's idioms has both lyrical and philosophical (McGraw Hill and Cambridge sources) both defining them as "to talk lyrical/philosophical" but with enthusiasm. The use of wax on its own seems to have retained the enthusiasm but not the other adjective quality. English moves on often by omitting stuff :D
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