con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Definition of consume

transitive verb

1 : to do away with completely : destroy Fire consumed several buildings.
2a : to spend wastefully : squander consumed his inheritance on luxuries
b : use up Writing consumed much of his time.
3a : to eat or drink especially in great quantity consumed several bags of pretzels
b : to enjoy avidly : devour … mysteries, which she consumes for fun …— Eden Ross Lipson
4 : to engage fully : engross consumed with curiosity
5 : to utilize as a customer consume goods and services

intransitive verb

1 : to waste or burn away : perish
2 : to utilize economic goods

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for consume


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of consume in a Sentence

The new lights consume less electricity. She's making an effort to live more simply and consume less. Hundreds of books were consumed in the fire.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web People with pica will repeatedly consume non-nutritive, non-food substances, such as rocks or dirt. Colleen Murphy,, "The Different Types of Eating Disorders—What They Are and What You Need to Know About Them," 24 Feb. 2021 Otherwise the plant could quickly consume the world’s entire supply of tritium, which comes only from certain nuclear reactors. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Road map to U.S. fusion power plant comes into clearer focus—sort of," 19 Feb. 2021 In addition to the computers themselves drawing power, the air conditioners and other cooling mechanics for the computers consume a substantial amount. Patrick Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Compute North, digital currency service provider in Eden Prairie, raises $25 million," 15 Feb. 2021 But the repercussions of the charges first lodged by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, coupled with federal complaints and civil suits, would consume both men for years. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Robert Altman, Video Game Mogul Who Survived Scandal, Dies at 73," 13 Feb. 2021 While many smuggling runs are sprints through near-shore waters, panga transits from a launch in Baja to the California coast can consume hours or even days. New York Times, "Risking Everything to Come to America on the Open Ocean," 28 Jan. 2021 Defense will consume the conversations and waking thoughts of club officials in the coming days and weeks. David Moore, Dallas News, "5 issues facing the Cowboys’ defense this offseason, including key free agent decisions," 19 Jan. 2021 The online megaphone the San Francisco company handed him seemed to define, and sometimes consume, his presidency. Owen Thomas,, "Why I wrote an obituary for @realDonaldTrump," 13 Jan. 2021 Soil microbes will consume many – but not all – pathogens. oregonlive, "What’s eating these garlic plants? Ask an expert," 9 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consume.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of consume

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for consume

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French consumer, from Latin consumere, from com- + sumere to take up, take, from sub- up + emere to take — more at sub-, redeem

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about consume

Time Traveler for consume

Time Traveler

The first known use of consume was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for consume

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for consume



English Language Learners Definition of consume

: to eat or drink (something)
: to use (fuel, time, resources, etc.)
: to destroy (something) with fire


con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Kids Definition of consume

1 : to destroy by or as if by fire
2 : to eat or drink up
3 : to use up consume electricity Our entire day was consumed searching for his glasses.
4 : to take up the interest or attention of Curiosity consumed the crowd.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on consume

What made you want to look up consume? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!