ex·​pend·​able | \ ik-ˈspen-də-bəl How to pronounce expendable (audio) \

Definition of expendable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: that may be expended: such as
a : normally used up or consumed in service expendable supplies like pencils and paper
b : more easily or economically replaced than rescued, salvaged, or protected



Definition of expendable (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is expendable usually used in plural

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Other Words from expendable


expendability \ ik-​ˌspen-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce expendable (audio) \ noun

Examples of expendable in a Sentence

Adjective employees whose jobs are considered expendable
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Worker organizing has gained momentum recently at Amazon warehouses, where some employees have said the experience of working long shifts for little pay amid a pandemic underscored to them that Amazon views them as expendable. al, "Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy in ‘hot seat’ as Alabama workers consider union," 7 Feb. 2021 More expendable than your second-best player, anyway. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "This offseason, Dallas acquired what the 2011 Mavs had and the 2020 team lacked: Extra toughness," 1 Dec. 2020 Thales will build Space Rider's reusable reentry module, and Avio will deliver an expendable service module and propulsion system. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Angara finally flies again, Falcon 9 customers embrace reuse," 18 Dec. 2020 Dallas’ depth at point guard with Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke, who also re-signed with Dallas in free agency, behind Doncic made Barea’s on-court contributions expendable. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Mavs plan to release veteran point guard J.J. Barea on Thursday to solve roster crunch, per report," 9 Dec. 2020 Precious Achiuwa is going to make Silva very expendable, very soon. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Will this version of Heat continuity be different?," 5 Dec. 2020 But behind the quest was a larger, darker truth: The Saudis’ modernization push relies on a labor pipeline from South Asia to the Persian Gulf that reduces workers to expendable, indistinguishable bodies. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: Not turning the corner," 29 Oct. 2020 The presence of Betts playing alongside Cody Bellinger made Pederson expendable. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Dodgers’ Joc Pederson heading to free agency after World Series; Giants a fit?," 26 Oct. 2020 Even if Exxon one day completes its plans in Wyoming, the current delay shows that urgent climate projects can sometimes become expendable in a crunch. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Exxon Mobil shelves a carbon capture project using technology that could slow climate change," 8 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This isn’t the first time UAA administrators have deemed skiing expendable during a budget crisis. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Board of Regents reinstates UAA alpine ski program after $628,000 fundraising effort," 16 Jan. 2021 Even with rosters expanded from the usual 21 to 23 because of the pandemic, the Wings deemed Svechnikov expendable. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings' Evgeny Svechnikov goes unclaimed on waivers, stays with organization," 12 Jan. 2021 The Cardinals, also abysmal in other areas, earned the No. 1 pick, making Rosen expendable. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "It’s awkward, but Dolphins QB Josh Rosen working to find his place between Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa," 25 Aug. 2020

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


1805, in the meaning defined above


1942, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for expendable

Time Traveler

The first known use of expendable was in 1805

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Statistics for expendable

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expendable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expendable. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for expendable



English Language Learners Definition of expendable

: easily replaced : not worth saving : not meant to be saved : meant to be used and thrown away

More from Merriam-Webster on expendable

Nglish: Translation of expendable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expendable for Arabic Speakers

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