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The Actual Meaning and Origin of the Expression 'Wax Poetic'

Meaning and Origin of the Expression 'Wax Poetic'
If you think the expression 'wax poetic' has got anything to do with polishing, beeswax, earwax or candle wax, then you are not alone to nurse the incorrect notion, since we too presumed the same. But after poring over it, we learned that there was no connection whatsoever as we had established earlier. Never mind. So, here's the meaning and origin of 'wax poetic'.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Did You Know?
There is a New York-based trip hop band called 'Wax Poetic'.
"Your eyes are like a dust of verdant strewn over glistening pools of luscious blue; one pool seeks north while the other inclines toward south". Wow, the sound of this sent a gratifying tremor around my body, only after reading through the lines I realized the person whose 'one pool seeks north while the other inclines toward south' is in fact walleyed. Nonetheless, I instantly fell in love with this poetic and romantic description.

This is what 'wax poetic' exactly means. You use lofty, ornate, and verbose language to describe something relatively unremarkable. I'm sure the woman on whom this flowery description was thrown must have felt out of the world despite her ocular aberration. That's the power of wax poetic fellas.
Meaning of 'wax poetic'
Moving on. So how did 'wax poetic' come into being in the literary world as we know it? The verb 'wax' which means increase in size has been used to describe the expanding of moon's illumination since like a very loonnggg time. A waxing moon is a gradual transformation of the moon from a luminescent splinter to a full-bodied glowing beauty.
The opposite of waxing is waning, where the full lit moon decreases in size gradually and completely gets shadowed. However, these two quaintly charming words are now supplanted by 'grow' and 'decrease', but 'wax' still has its charm intact, and this can be credited to some creative fecund minds of the yore who used it like a rising crescendo of a mellifluous song as well as to make it cloyingly poetic.
Origin
Henry Morton Stanley
Henry Morton Stanley
'Wax lyrical', 'wax eloquent', 'wax sentimental', and 'wax poetic' are peas of the same pod, which means writing or speaking in a smotheringly and increasingly flowery language. 'Waxing poetic' was first found in Sir Henry Morton Stanley's book How I Found Livingstone, 1872: "One could almost wax poetic, but we will keep such ambitious ideas for a future day." This made him our history's first official waxer, we hope you know in what context we mean ;)
In short, when you are totally enthused or passionate about something, you use wax poetic, since you are under its spell, and so you are seduced to aggrandizing it.