I’ve seen the phrase “waiting for a minute” grow in popularity recently – as in, “I’ve been waiting for a minute” – sort of a clever/unique (?) way to say you’ve been waiting a while.  It was in reviewing the latest album by Train that I reflected on the increase in usage of the phrase.  It is prominent in the first single released, Play That Song:

Hey Mister DJ when you gonna spin it
My baby’s favorite record
She been waiting for a minute

Of course, being the curious person I am, I had to look into it. Has this phrase been around forever and I am just discovering it or is it a recent phenomenon?  Here is what I found:

There are quite a few instances of the phrase available over the course of the last couple years. Justin Bieber, Kanye and others have used it. I can’t however, find a use of the phrase before 2008.

Then, it was used in a song by T.I. called Ready for Whatever. I would link the track here, but it has explicit lyrics so I will just post the line:

“You waiting on me to die, you gon’ be waiting for a minute”

The usage implies that it was a common saying back in 2008.  The only place I am finding the phrase online is in lyrics and it isn’t listed on any of my etymology sources.  I can’t find it anywhere else. You tell me – how long have you heard the phrase?

by Chris Doelle