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 for consume


devour, eat (up)

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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

Finding the perfect home décor can be a time-consuming endeavor, even for an imaginary dream house. Jaime Osnato, SELF, "Amazon’s New Home Collection Is My Vision Board Come to Life—Here Are 13 Things I Want," 21 Nov. 2018 The process, which is time-consuming and requires steady attention, converts the grain’s starches to sugar. Wei Tchou, Vogue, "New York’s First Sake Brewery Considers the Art of American Rice Wine," 24 Oct. 2018 Lawyers for the police department argued that the media’s public records requests were costly and time-consuming and releasing the information could disclose investigative techniques. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Las Vegas shooting witness accounts recall 'tons of gunshots,' 'people dead everywhere'," 2 Oct. 2018 Even listings services Zillow and Redfin have launched similar programs hoping to grease the wheels of a real estate transaction that is stressful, time-consuming, and costly. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "New home flipping platform sells to the first bidder, not the highest," 19 Sep. 2018 This, however, can be a time-consuming process that requires the physical presence of the passport holder-to-be. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Renew Passports: Everything You Need to Know," 10 Sep. 2018 As one can imagine, helping design a whole eyewear line is a pretty time-consuming process. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Lara Spencer From 'Good Morning America' Announces Exciting New Project," 27 Aug. 2018 The couple had no children — their paintings were their babies and their all-consuming mutual passion. Susan Dunne,, "'Two Lives, One Passion' At Springfield Museums," 7 July 2018 Recounts are time consuming, expensive but fully permissible. The Aegis, "Hard look needed at election problems in Maryland [Editorial]," 12 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

5 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on consume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with consume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for consume

Spanish Central: Translation of consume

Nglish: Translation of consume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consume for Arabic Speakers

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