Waiting in the wings

Photo of author


Waiting in the wings is an idiom with an interesting origin. We will examine the meaning of the idiom waiting in the wings, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Waiting in the wings describes someone who is available on short notice, someone who is ready to step into a situation, someone who can be called upon to help quickly. The idiom waiting in the wings is derived from the world of theater. The wings of a theater are the areas on each side of the stage where one may observe the activity on the stage without being seen by the audience. Actors stand in the wings before it is their time to go on the stage. Understudy actors often stand in the wings watching the performance in anticipation of taking over a role from the main actor. The expression waiting in the wings came into use before the twentieth century. Related phrases are wait in the wings, waits in the wings, waited in the wings.


Even better news: the best dandruff shampoo formulas for every hair type are waiting in the wings to ensure a soft, supple, and flake-free scalp. (Vogue Magazine)

There are people waiting in the wings to get full performances back on during the crucial Christmas period – and I want to support them. (The Daily Mail)

Bart and I were waiting in the wings to take over, so Peter asked us to get involved. (The Detroit Free Press)

Here are some articles about idioms: