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
(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 awaywas 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 But the pandemic also is playing a role in several ways: More people are staying home, which means more garbage bins full of food waste to attract bears. USA TODAY, "More recycling, luxury nut surplus, free degree: News from around our 50 states," 4 Aug. 2020 In the final project component, researchers will focus on reducing the environmental toll of waste created by broiler chicken production. Amanda Blanco, courant.com, "UConn researcher awarded $10M USDA grant for project to decrease use of antibiotics in poultry," 3 Aug. 2020 As the athleisure market continues to boom, so too does the amount of harmful environmental waste. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "This Designer and Ironman Athlete Believes We Should All Be Working Out in Knitwear," 3 Aug. 2020 Clothing production generates a huge amount of waste globally. Alexis Benveniste, CNN, "Chipotle is using avocado pits as dye for its new sustainable clothing line," 3 Aug. 2020 These products should be disposed of immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "FDA Urges Consumers to Stop Using These Potentially Toxic Hand Sanitizer Products," 28 July 2020 Tajima and Fujisawa conclude that the expulsion pressure of the waste is indeed higher than that calculated in the previous study. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Penguins Can Shoot Their Poop 4 Feet, Which Rules," 14 July 2020 To try to fudge the broken economics of recycling, the US used to sell oodles of plastic waste to China to process, but China nixed that deal in 2018 to boost its own domestic garbage collection. Matt Simon, Wired, "You Don't Need Single-Use Plastic Bags. You Need a Mask," 13 July 2020 The agency urged consumers to stop using the products, which should be immediately discarded in hazardous waste containers. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "9 brands of hand sanitizer may be toxic, FDA warns," 23 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Biden doesn’t plan to waste months trying to woo a handful of Republicans to join Democrats in supporting a comprehensive immigration bill. Joe Garofoli, SFChronicle.com, "Latinos still aren’t excited about Joe Biden, but he’s trying to change," 6 Aug. 2020 Secondly, wooded properties with an owner who doesn’t live on site are probably owned specifically as hunting ground (so don’t waste time trying to get permission there). Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "How to Find a Last-Minute, Affordable Deer Lease," 31 July 2020 There was no time to waste for the Dallas Empire after losing another match to the Florida Mutineers Saturday afternoon. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "‘Crimsix,’ Dallas Empire make quick adjustments to prepare for semifinals," 20 June 2020 Civic and community leaders agreed, saying there’s no time to waste in acting to address the underlying problems that sparked the four days of violence and destruction. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "After nights of protest, Louisville is hurting. Where does the city go from here?," 31 May 2020 One of the great sports truths has been reinforced by this pandemic: When the sun is shining, none of us has time to waste. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: Making every inning count. Cancer-stricken coach Gail Klock writes playbook on squeezing joy from end of life.," 16 May 2020 Never waste time explaining to people who never supported u anyway. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson defends DeSean Jackson's fake Hitler quote posts," 9 July 2020 Never waste time explaining to people who never supported u anyway. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "Ex-NBA star Stephen Jackson says remarks about DeSean Jackson were twisted, but apologizes," 9 July 2020 Brave New World doesn’t waste time getting to the orgy, a futuristic hotties-only naked dance set to bumping techno. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Brave New World is sex and drugs and rock without soul: Review," 9 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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, "19 LGBTQ+ Brands to Shop During Pride Month and Beyond," 11 June 2020 The most accessible plank of the action plan for most residents is waste reduction. Anchorage Daily News, "14 questions: Anchorage Assembly candidate Chris Constant," 28 Mar. 2020 Dadashov, an Azerbaijani striker who bounced around the German leagues the last decade, did not waste time, scoring at 13-, 24- and 65-minute marks. azcentral, "Phoenix Rising FC kick off 2020 with dominating win over Portland Timbers 2," 7 Mar. 2020 Sowers did not waste time, impressing Kyle Shanahan, then the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, in 2016. Talya Minsberg, New York Times, "Katie Sowers Seized Her Chances, and Now She’s Coaching in the Super Bowl," 1 Feb. 2020 After being warned for taking more than the allotted 25 seconds between serves, Kyrgios mimicked how Nadal fidgets before a point, as if to remind the chair umpire that there are folks who more egregiously waste time. Howard Fendrich, BostonGlobe.com, "Never a dull moment as Nick Kyrgios advances to third round at Australian Open," 23 Jan. 2020 Fenced dog enclosure features fire hydrants, waste bag stations, picnic tables, trash cans and play features, 4700 Old Pearsall Road; sanantonio.gov. Ingrid Wilgen, San Antonio Express-News, "Dog parks offer off-leash time and a place to play," 11 June 2018 That means waste heat, vented from cooling towers, losing 30 to 40 percent of the energy created by combustion. David Roberts, Vox, "That natural gas power plant with no carbon emissions or air pollution? It works.," 1 June 2018 Luxuries such as a boiler, tanks for both fresh and waste water, a grill (stored in the van’s cargo hold), and portable camping chairs are part of the deal, too. Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "California XXL: A Gigantic Camper Van Brought to You by Volkswagen," 13 Sep. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about waste

Time Traveler for waste

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for waste

Last Updated

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Waste.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waste. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for waste

waste

noun
How to pronounce waste (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of waste

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: loss of something valuable that occurs because too much of it is being used or because it is being used in a way that is not necessary or effective
: an action or use that results in the unnecessary loss of something valuable
: a situation in which something valuable is not being used or is being used in a way that is not appropriate or effective

waste

verb

English Language Learners Definition of waste (Entry 2 of 3)

: to use (something valuable) in a way that is not necessary or effective : to use more of (something) than is necessary
: to use (something or someone) in a way that does not produce a valuable result or effect : to fail to use (something or someone) in an appropriate or effective way
slang : to kill or murder (someone)

waste

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of waste (Entry 3 of 3)

: of, relating to, or being material that is left over or unwanted after something has been made, done, used, etc.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on waste

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for waste

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with waste

Spanish Central: Translation of waste

Nglish: Translation of waste for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of waste for Arabic Speakers

Comments on waste

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!