waste

noun
\ ˈwāst How to pronounce waste (audio) \

Definition of waste

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a sparsely settled or barren region : desert
b : uncultivated land
c : a broad and empty expanse (as of water)
2 : the act or an instance of wasting : the state of being wasted
3a : loss through breaking down of bodily tissue
b : gradual loss or decrease by use, wear, or decay
4a : damaged, defective, or superfluous material produced by a manufacturing process: such as
(1) : material rejected during a textile manufacturing process and used usually for wiping away dirt and oil cotton waste
(2) : scrap
(3) : an unwanted by-product of a manufacturing process, chemical laboratory, or nuclear reactor toxic waste hazardous waste nuclear waste
b : refuse from places of human or animal habitation: such as
(1) : garbage, rubbish
(2) : excrement often used in plural
(3) : sewage
c : material derived by mechanical and chemical weathering of the land and moved down sloping surfaces or carried by streams to the sea

waste

verb
wasted; wasting

Definition of waste (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to lay waste especially : to damage or destroy gradually and progressively reclaiming land wasted by strip-mining
2 : to cause to shrink in physical bulk or strength : emaciate, enfeeble a body wasted by disease
3 : to wear away or diminish gradually : consume
4a : to spend or use carelessly : squander waste valuable resources
b : to allow to be used inefficiently or become dissipated a writer wasting her talent
5 : kill also : to injure severely

intransitive verb

1 : to lose weight, strength, or vitality often used with away was wasting away from illness
2a : to become diminished in bulk or substance
b : to become consumed
3 : to spend money or consume property extravagantly or improvidently
waste one's breath
: to accomplish nothing by speaking

waste

adjective

Definition of waste (Entry 3 of 3)

1a(1) : being wild and uninhabited : desolate
(2) : arid, empty
b : not cultivated : not productive
2 : being in a ruined or devastated condition
3 [waste entry 1]
a : discarded as worthless, defective, or of no use : refuse waste material
b : excreted from or stored in inert form in a living body as a by-product of vital activity waste products
4 [waste entry 1] : serving to conduct or hold refuse material a waste barrel specifically : carrying off superfluous water a waste drain

Choose the Right Synonym for waste

Verb

ravage, devastate, waste, sack, pillage, despoil mean to lay waste by plundering or destroying. ravage implies violent often cumulative depredation and destruction. a hurricane ravaged the coast devastate implies the complete ruin and desolation of a wide area. an earthquake devastated the city waste may imply producing the same result by a slow process rather than sudden and violent action. years of drought had wasted the area sack implies carrying off all valuable possessions from a place. barbarians sacked ancient Rome pillage implies ruthless plundering at will but without the completeness suggested by sack. settlements pillaged by Vikings despoil applies to looting or robbing without suggesting accompanying destruction. the Nazis despoiled the art museums

Examples of waste in a Sentence

Noun The current system causes a lot of waste. We need to find ways to reduce unnecessary waste. These old computers are still useful. It seems like such a waste to throw them away. Any further investment would be a waste of valuable resources. The city oversees waste disposal contracts. Verb Don't waste water during the summer drought. He always wasted his money on useless gadgets. Turn off the lights so we don't waste electricity. I think he's just wasting my time. We can't afford to waste so much food. We can't afford to waste this opportunity. Adjective waste acreage that was not fit for anything See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet this refreshed version of the smart-alecky character Chevy Chase played in the 1980s has a certain breezy charm, not worthy of rushing to a theater but hardly a waste of one's digital-viewing time. Brian Lowry, CNN, 16 Sep. 2022 That is a bad move, yet again signals a division of Jerusalem, and a complete waste of U.S. taxpayer money. Linda Chase, Sun Sentinel, 9 Sep. 2022 It’s all a waste of Bernthal, who actually could have been a perfect leading man for a modern probe into commodified masculinity and sexuality, but hasn’t been given anything to play. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2022 Talking on the phone seemed like a waste of time to him—NOT what a 20-year-old woman wants to hear. Jason Duaine Hahn, Peoplemag, 25 Aug. 2022 Atheists consider all of the above a waste, even stupid. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Aug. 2022 Shame on Hernández and the L.A. Times for the waste of space. Los Angeles Times, 13 Aug. 2022 Washing machines drain sodium-containing detergents and industrial firms discharge sodium-laden water into wastewater systems, which already treat the human waste of a society addicted to salty foods and drinks. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2022 Though some kinds of mind-wandering — such as dwelling on problems that can’t be fixed — may be associated with depression, Smallwood now believes mind-wandering is rarely a waste of time. Tim Vernimmen, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There’s no time to waste on a farewell tour for aged players. Los Angeles Times, 20 Aug. 2022 The publication adds that U.S. businesses waste a staggering $8 billion annually on just managing paper (pre-pandemic). Serenity Gibbons, Forbes, 16 Aug. 2022 That’s been his goal all along, to prove through his play that the Cardinals didn’t waste their first selection in the draft by taking the first tight end off the board when there wasn’t real need at the position. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, 15 Aug. 2022 Don’t waste any effort trying to work out who is, or was, seeing whom; just accept that relationships, in the world of this film, last about as long as an open carton of milk. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 5 Aug. 2022 Tyler Renner, a spokesman for the organization, said the restrictions would waste time and city resources. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Subsidies and tariffs waste resources, burden taxpayers and politicize decisions best left to markets. Greg Ip, WSJ, 27 July 2022 Allard said that the city would waste time, money and resources seeking FEMA reimbursement. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 27 July 2022 Big Ten Conference commissioner Kevin Warren explained why that informal convergence with the Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference need not waste any trees or printer ink. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 1 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Fanning out like urban guerrillas through Paris’ darkened streets well after midnight, the anti-waste activists shinny up walls and drain pipes, reaching for switches to turn off the lights. Click. The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Aug. 2022 But for sheer novelty in this post-waste world, few companies may top Extract Energy. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021 For many of them, working at a high-growth company with a feel-good, anti-waste mission had felt like the pinnacle of their working lives. Lauren Weber, WSJ, 17 May 2021 The new anti-waste law aims to encourage buyers to repair their devices rather than replace them with new products. Chris Smith, BGR, 26 Feb. 2021 To boost that percentage, France passed an anti-waste bill last year mandating that electronics manufacturers make a repairability index visible on their products. Maddie Stone, Wired, 20 Feb. 2021 One study shows that restaurants save $7 for every $1 invested in anti-waste methods. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Mar. 2020 Reviving discarded clothing and giving it new life through painting and alterations, artist MI Legget goes against the grain and champions anti-waste values in the industry. Erin Parker, Glamour, 11 June 2020 The most accessible plank of the action plan for most residents is waste reduction. Anchorage Daily News, 28 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'waste.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of waste

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for waste

Noun

Middle English waste, wast; in sense 1, from Anglo-French wast, from wast, gast, guast, adjective, desolate, waste, from Latin vastus; in other senses, from Middle English wasten to waste — more at vast

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French waster, gaster, from Latin vastare, from vastus desolate, waste

Adjective

Middle English waste, wast, from Anglo-French wast

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Time Traveler for waste

Time Traveler

The first known use of waste was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near waste

wastage

waste

waste away

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Statistics for waste

Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Waste.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waste. Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for waste

waste

noun
\ ˈwāst How to pronounce waste (audio) \

Kids Definition of waste

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the action of spending or using carelessly or uselessly : the state of being spent or used carelessly or uselessly a waste of time
2 : material left over or thrown away
3 : material (as carbon dioxide in the lungs or urine in the kidneys) produced in and of no further use to the living body
4 : a large area of barren land : wasteland

waste

verb
wasted; wasting

Kids Definition of waste (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to spend or use carelessly or uselessly
2 : to lose or cause to lose weight, strength, or energy His muscles were wasting away from lack of use.
3 : to bring to ruin

waste

adjective

Kids Definition of waste (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : being wild and without people or crops : barren waste areas
2 : of no further use Some waste materials can be recycled.

waste

noun
\ ˈwāst How to pronounce waste (audio) \

Medical Definition of waste

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : loss through breaking down of bodily tissue
2 wastes plural : bodily waste materials : excrement

waste

verb
wasted; wasting

Medical Definition of waste (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to cause to shrink in physical bulk or strength : emaciate

intransitive verb

: to lose weight, strength, or vitality often used with away

waste

adjective

Medical Definition of waste (Entry 3 of 3)

: excreted from or stored in inert form in a living body as a by-product of vital activity waste products

waste

noun

Legal Definition of waste

1 : destruction of or damage to property that is caused by the act or omission of one (as a lessee, mortgagor, or life tenant) having a lesser estate and is usually to the injury of another (as an heir, mortgagee, or remainderman) with an interest in the same property an action for waste
ameliorating waste \ ə-​ˈmēl-​yə-​ˌrā-​tiŋ-​ \
: waste that leads to improvement of property (as by clearing the way for rebuilding something)

called also ameliorative waste

permissive waste
: waste caused by the failure of a tenant to take ordinary or proper care of the property
voluntary waste
: waste caused by the intentional commission of a destructive act by a tenant
2 : a reduction of the value of assets (as in a trust) caused by a failure to exercise proper care or sound judgment in managing them especially : a transfer of corporate assets (as through excessive executive compensation or a merger) for no legitimate business purpose or for less than what a person of ordinary sound business judgment would consider to be adequate consideration the essence of a claim of waste of corporate assets is the diversion of corporate assets for improper or unnecessary purposes Michelson v. Duncan, 407 A.2d 211 (1979)

More from Merriam-Webster on waste

Nglish: Translation of waste for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of waste for Arabic Speakers

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