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

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Synonyms for consume


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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 The group advises women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to not consume either medical or recreational marijuana. NBC News, "Heavy marijuana use during pregnancy linked to premature birth, early infant death," 23 Apr. 2021 That’s why there’s only one rule and it’s this: Don’t consume them after sunset. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, "How to Make a Perfect Bloody Mary, the Ultimate Brunch Cocktail," 15 Apr. 2021 The Planet: Don’t consume resources for near-term gain without regard for the long-term impacts on the ecosystem. Kent Gregoire, Forbes, "Stakeholder Management: A Great Way To Jump-Start Your Conscious Business," 12 Mar. 2021 The regulations limit how much THC can be in a package or serving, but not how many servings people consume, Assembly member Chris Constant said. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Marijuana Control Board is considering doubling the amount of THC allowed in edibles," 3 Mar. 2021 Consumers who have purchased the stated Queso Fresco, Quesillo (Oaxaca, string cheese), and Requeson (Ricotta) products are urged not to consume and to return product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Mike Wehner, BGR, "If you have any of this cheese in your fridge, throw it out," 2 Mar. 2021 The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife nevertheless recommends hunters not consume birds that look sick and always wear rubber or latex gloves when cleaning game. Bill Monroe, oregonlive, "Bill Monroe: ‘Things look great’ for Oregon waterfowl hunting season so far," 14 Nov. 2020 President Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant into the body to fight the virus, but experts warned people not to consume any disinfectant as a way of fighting the virus. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "From shutting schools to sky-high cases: A timeline of COVID-19 cases, actions and results," 14 Nov. 2020 Because bats use the same chest and abdominal muscles for both flying and producing echolocation calls, many researchers thought vocalizing while airborne would not consume significantly more energy than flying alone. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Echolocation Drains Bats Traveling through Noise," 20 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for consume

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for consume

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 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.

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Comments on consume

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