throw·​away | \ ˈthrō-ə-ˌwā \

Definition of throwaway

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : designed to be thrown away : disposable throwaway containers
2 : written or spoken (as in a play) in a low-key or unemphatic manner throwaway lines
4 : marked by a tendency to discard things : overly wasteful a throwaway society



Definition of throwaway (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : one that is or is designed to be thrown away: such as
a : a free handbill or circular
b : a line of dialogue (as in a play) de-emphasized by casual delivery especially : a joke or witticism delivered casually
2 : something made or done without care or interest
3 : a child who has been forced to leave home or who has run away from indifferent or hostile parents

throw away


Definition of throw away (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to get rid of as worthless or unnecessary
2a : to use in a foolish or wasteful manner : squander
b : to fail to take advantage of : waste throw away an opportunity
3 : to make (something, such as a line in a play) unemphatic by casual delivery

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Examples of throwaway in a Sentence


I should throw away that torn shirt. if you buy a high-end computer, you'll just be throwing away money on a bunch of features you'll never use

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The conclusion said that the FBI wasn’t biased was not a throwaway conclusion at the end of the report, but a conclusion that’s examined in-depth and repeated with some frequency throughout the report. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Trump told 4 lies about the inspector general report in one short Fox News hit," 15 June 2018 This was a throwaway line, said not to be taken seriously but to reinforce a bond with those who most definitely were not idiots and who strove to find intelligent solutions to intractable problems despite the odds. WSJ, "Dean Acheson, My Father, Really Was an Anglophile," 25 Oct. 2018 But now, a throwaway line in the Japanese version of WarioWare Gold has thrown everything into question once again. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "How do you pronounce “NES”? Nintendo throws a wrench in the debate," 3 Aug. 2018 And here is yet again a tableau featuring nonwhite characters — Chinese workers who’ve come to the U.S. to help build the transcontinental railroad — that the show reduces to either set dressing or a throwaway moment of shock and horror. William Lee,, "‘Westworld’ Episode 4 recap: 5 things to know about ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’," 14 May 2018 Fluff like this is a, well, inspired choice – the theatrical equivalent of a throwaway beach novel. Matthew J. Palm,, "'Xanadu' glitters with goofiness at the Garden," 7 July 2018 But the Heat, right or wrong, also have shown a belief that James Johnson, Dion Waiters and others signed in the interim are more than throwaway additions. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Are the Heat planning to go with all-guard lineups?," 2 July 2018 The ban has already caused the EU to consider a tax on throwaway plastics. Ellen Airhart, WIRED, "China Won’t Solve the World’s Plastics Problem Any More," 20 June 2018 A few days after the party, those plastic yo-yos and other throwaway toys start to look like junk. Allyson Shaw, National Geographic, "Reducing Plastic as a Family Is Easy. Here's How.," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cities in the United States have also been trying to ban some plastics, including grocery bags and those ubiquitous straws that have suddenly turned into a symbol of all that is wrong with our throwaway culture. Xiaozhi Lim, The Seattle Times, "Chemists in search of their Holy Grail: a plastic designed to die," 6 Aug. 2018 Rogue One propped up a throwaway reference from the opening seconds of A New Hope while Solo played out a line uttered by Han Solo in the same film (which my colleague Chaim Gartenberg called back in 2016). Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Lucasfilm canceling its Boba Fett film could be good news for Star Wars’ future," 26 Oct. 2018 But in the popular imagination, his name is most commonly associated with one simple, three-word question, originally meant as a throwaway joke to amuse a group of scientists discussing UFOs at the Los Alamos lab in 1950: Where is everybody? Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "But, Seriously, Where Is Everybody?," 22 June 2018 Some of his throwaway observations, like the shot of a kid sniffing a highlighter pen in class, feel like something out of a wildlife documentary. Justin Chang,, "Review: Bo Burnham's 'Eighth Grade' is a beautifully honest portrait of adolescent girlhood," 11 July 2018 But Japan’s throwaway housing culture, shaped by a once-urgent need to house growing numbers, makes no sense now that the population is shrinking. The Economist, "Why Japanese houses have such limited lifespans," 15 Mar. 2018 The throwaway domestic bits are the best: Jack-Jack double-patting his father awake, when Bob conks out during the bedtime storybook, for example. Michael Phillips,, "'Incredibles 2' review: Piling on the action in a 14-years-later sequel," 11 June 2018 Grenier has been working on educating the public about the problems with plastic straws and other throwaway items through his Lonely Whale foundation. National Geographic, "Actor Adrian Grenier Is Cutting Out Plastic. Here's How You Can, Too.," 5 June 2018 That's six shots taken in 19 drafts, post-Marino: Two late-round throwaways, three consecutive wasted second-round picks, and the first-round Tannehill gamble. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Dolphins have fallen to last in AFC East by the one gauge that should concern fans most | Miami Herald," 30 Apr. 2018

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


1928, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1903, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for throwaway

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for throwaway

The first known use of throwaway was in 1530

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More Definitions for throwaway



English Language Learners Definition of throwaway

: made to be thrown away after use

: made or said with very little thought

: tending to throw things away instead of keeping them and using them again : very wasteful

More from Merriam-Webster on throwaway

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with throwaway

Comments on throwaway

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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