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 Each included a disposable mask, gloves and sanitizer — as well as a postcard with Olson’s face and talking points. Dallas News, "In this heated North Texas Democratic congressional runoff, it’s about resume vs. life experience," 28 June 2020 According to a forecast from Grand View Research, the global disposable-mask market will grow from an estimated $800m in 2019 to $166bn in 2020. The Economist, "Sea of troubles Covid-19 has led to a pandemic of plastic pollution," 22 June 2020 Recycling personal protective equipment, such as the disposable masks and gloves that have ended up on streets and in landfills, is another challenge going forward, Szaky and Hoover said. Washington Post, "Yes, you can keep up your green practices during the pandemic," 9 July 2020 The company, which was co-founded by Allysa Dittmar, who is Deaf, recently started selling the disposable clear masks in bulk to more organizations that serve or work with people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Audrey Jensen, The Arizona Republic, "For some Arizonans with hearing loss, the pandemic poses unique challenges," 5 July 2020 During his May 16 inspection, Rottnek observed inmates wearing disposable surgical masks that were fraying and dirty. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Report detailing 'severe' disrepair at Wayne County jail struck from lawsuit," 3 July 2020 Before the pandemic, emergency room doctors rarely used the disposable N95 respirator masks, said Hill and others. Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY, "Despite warnings, the US wasn’t prepared with masks for coronavirus. Now it’s too late.," 1 July 2020 Cloth face masks must be washed daily, while disposable masks must be thrown away daily. Scott Mcclallen, Washington Examiner, "Gretchen Whitmer lays out plan for Michigan schools to reopen in fall," 1 July 2020 Some are making cloth masks for everyday use or disposable single-use masks, the lightweight blue face coverings that loop over the ears, like those made by Jabil. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Jabil Will Turn U.S. Factories Toward Making Protective Masks," 30 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Until recently, the chain offered slight discounts when customers brought in their own mugs to encourage using those instead of disposables. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "Starbucks is testing a new cup. Here's what's different," 9 Mar. 2020 But the holes in the government’s flavor ban have merely opened the door to an array of competing brands that produce disposables, like Puff Bars, blu, Posh, and Stig. Sheila Kaplan, BostonGlobe.com, "Teens find a big loophole in the new flavored vaping ban," 1 Feb. 2020 Festivals’ move toward reusable wares has been prompted in part by a new California law encouraging a clampdown on plastic waste from disposables. Elena Shao, SFChronicle.com, "Don’t throw away that cup! S.F. pushes reusables, but it won’t be easy," 4 Aug. 2019 That was part of Hubble’s motivation — lenses, especially daily disposables, can be expensive, and the major manufacturers have been accused of anticompetitive practices in recent years. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, "Start-Up Says It’s Changing Eye Care for the Better. Others See It Differently.," 21 July 2019 And there are significant knock-on effects of improper disposable: many of the drugs identified in the 2017 study are known to kill, harm the health of, or change the behavior of fish, insects and other wildlife. Elijah Wolfson, Time, "Pharmacies Don’t Know How to Dispose of Leftover Opioids and Antibiotics," 30 Dec. 2019 Reduce use of paper products and disposables — Be environmentally friendly. Maria Ward, Houston Chronicle, "Staying Organized: Choices for simple living," 20 Sep. 2019 There’s also the question of how environmentally friendly reusable dishware actually is, compared with disposables. Elena Shao, SFChronicle.com, "Don’t throw away that cup! S.F. pushes reusables, but it won’t be easy," 4 Aug. 2019 But they’re all considerably bigger than regular disposables. Anna Momigliano, Washington Post, "What I wish they’d told me before I started using cloth diapers," 27 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for disposable

Time Traveler

The first known use of disposable was in 1643

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Statistics for disposable

Last Updated

28 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disposable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disposable. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for disposable


How to pronounce disposable (audio)

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

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