dis·​pos·​able | \ di-ˈspō-zə-bəl How to pronounce disposable (audio) \

Definition of disposable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : subject to or available for disposal specifically : remaining to an individual after deduction of taxes and necessary living expenses disposable income
2 : designed to be used once or only a limited number of times and then thrown away disposable diapers Replace the disposable razor when the blade becomes dull.



Definition of disposable (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is disposable

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Other Words from disposable


disposability \ di-​ˌspō-​zə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce disposability (audio) \ noun

Examples of disposable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Everything inside the sock is disposable, including a stretcher, a bucket toilet, medical supplies, and leads for health monitors that can be operated by the medical crew from outside. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Airplanes That Rescue Ebola Patients," 5 July 2019 First, all your disposable income or nonexempt property (whichever is greater) has to be used to pay your creditors in full, over a three- to five-year period, to receive a discharge. orlandosentinel.com, "Check with attorney before early plan payoff," 4 July 2019 Low gas prices, a strong economy, low unemployment, and rising disposable incomes are convincing more Americans than ever to hit the road, AAA says. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Why Bigger Roads Make Traffic Worse, and Other Summer Travel News," 4 July 2019 Whatever the case, posters have always been disposable. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "How Posters Became Art," 1 July 2019 That speaks to the underlying issue: Many people in developed countries are accumulating historic, unprecedented amounts of stuff—much of which is disposable, designed for single-use or a short life, and quickly ends up in waste streams. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "Marie Kondo helps declutter homes. What does that mean for plastic waste?," 22 Mar. 2019 Increasing taxes on boy's shoes, kitchen appliances, sheets and blankets and curtains, and hundreds of other basic clothing items and home goods, will hurt all moms who don't have inexhaustible disposable income. Rachel Layne, CBS News, "Tariffs on China goods will hit women shoppers hardest, JC Penney argues," 20 June 2019 Especially attractive is the influx of travelers with disposable income from emerging markets such as China, India, Russia and Brazil, where the fast-expanding middle class means untapped potential. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, "Forget the Mall, Shoppers Are Buying Gucci at Airports," 17 June 2019 New analysis reveals that consumer debt rose at a much brisker clip than the GDP or household disposable income. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "China’s debt disease might wreck its uncrashable housing market," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On a recent 15-hour journey from Newark to Hong Kong, I was faced with a parade of single-use disposables. Jasmin Malik Chua, Vox, "The best $3,000 I ever spent: training for my unruly dog," 9 July 2019 Generally, quick-service restaurants will have to make greater adjustments because dine-in restaurants use fewer disposables than take-out restaurants. Melissa Chen, The Mercury News, "Palo Alto tells restaurants to toss disposable foodware; restrictions on straws, cups and utensils may spread to other Bay Area cities," 23 June 2019 Ditch disposables Instead of single-use items, choose their counterparts that your great-grandparents would have used like cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, dishrags and dishtowels, and real cutlery and flatware. Mandy Ferreira, Good Housekeeping, "17 Ways To Produce Less Trash And Save Money—According To Zero Wasters," 12 July 2017 Studies estimate that one-quarter of all waste produced in California is from single-use food and beverage disposables, which reportedly can take centuries to decompose. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "California city wants to charge for every disposable takeout container," 26 Apr. 2018 Advocates of the Berkeley proposal point to studies that estimate one-quarter of all waste produced in California is from single-use food and beverage disposables. Kimberly Veklerov, San Francisco Chronicle, "Berkeley may slap charge on disposable food containers," 25 Apr. 2018 For meetings, the firm uses real dishes instead of disposables. Sandy Bauers, Philly.com, "Going green isn't just for the Eagles: Area workplaces embrace sustainability," 15 Mar. 2018 Yelchin mainly worked in portraiture, and always used film, whether with disposables or his Leica. Kenzie Bryant, Vanities, "Meet Anton Yelchin, Photographer," 15 Dec. 2017 Before Kotex sanitary napkins hit the market in 1921, most women relied on homemade cloth pads (although some storemade cloth pads and disposables had been on offer since the late 1880s.) Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "The Surprising Origins of Kotex Pads," 11 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disposable.' 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 disposable


1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1963, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for disposable

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disposable

The first known use of disposable was in 1643

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More Definitions for disposable



English Language Learners Definition of disposable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: made to be used once or only a few times : made to be thrown away after one use or several uses
somewhat formal : available to be used



English Language Learners Definition of disposable (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is made to be thrown away after it is used once


dis·​pos·​able | \ dis-ˈpō-zə-bəl How to pronounce disposable (audio) \

Kids Definition of disposable

: made to be thrown away after use disposable diapers

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More from Merriam-Webster on disposable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disposable

Spanish Central: Translation of disposable

Nglish: Translation of disposable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disposable for Arabic Speakers

Comments on disposable

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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