con·sume | \kən-ˈsüm \
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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for consume


absorb, burn, deplete, devour, drain, draw down, exhaust, expend, play out, spend, use up


renew, replace

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Then there is Aaron Burr, who wants only to destroy, who has a consuming insecurity. Christopher Borrelli,, "Our summer of fear: A conversation with Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum," 9 July 2018 Though one American has brought a few bottles of Mamma Beer into the U.S., the brew is likely to be a Czech-only phenomenon, where the average person consumes 36 gallons of beer per year and people still repeat an old proverb: Beer is Medicine. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "This Beer Was Developed For Breast Cancer Patients," 9 July 2018 The central reason remains the most basic: because consuming as a form of entertainment a game that causes human beings to suffer brain damage is wrong. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor’s departure elicits feelings of admiration, guilt," 3 July 2018 Dahmer, who would die less than three years into his life sentence, also confessed to consuming parts of his victims’ bodies., "Serial Killers Who Inspired Haunting Hollywood Portrayals," 12 July 2018 No one, regardless of age, should be subjected to flogging; that a child was prosecuted for consuming alcohol and sentenced to 80 lashes beggars belief. Greg Norman, Fox News, "GRAPHIC PHOTO: Iran slammed for 'shocking' flogging of man convicted for drinking alcohol as a teen," 12 July 2018 The emissions add up: Ammonia production consumes about 2% of the world's energy and generates 1% of its CO2. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Ammonia—a renewable fuel made from sun, air, and water—could power the globe without carbon," 12 July 2018 The method is time-consuming and difficult, limiting its use. Gina Kolata, New York Times, "Swift Gene-Editing Method May Revolutionize Treatments for Cancer and Infectious Diseases," 11 July 2018 Farming is difficult, time-consuming, and often financially prohibitive work. Aubrey Nagle,, "ICE protester sues Philly police, young Pa. farmers shake up industry | Morning Newsletter," 11 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for consume

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consume

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

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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 \
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.

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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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