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 [ 1waste ]

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 [ 1waste ] : serving to conduct or hold refuse material a waste barrel specifically : carrying off superfluous water a waste drain

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Anyone who has ventured into online gaming knows text chat can approach nuclear-waste-levels of toxicity. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel hopes to clean up toxic speech in game chat with AI and machine learning," 20 Mar. 2019 The Lowell observatory wasn’t a complete waste of money. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Here's What We Know About Planet Nine," 9 Mar. 2019 Democratic lawmakers think the whole thing is a big waste of time and distracts from more pressing issues. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Republican lawmakers still think Google is biased against conservatives. Google still claims that it’s not.," 11 Dec. 2018 In addition, the neighborhood will contain an Urban Consolidation Center, which will distribute freight and collect waste centrally via robots and a tunnel system, eliminating noise, pollution, and congestion. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Sidewalk Labs’s updated smart city plan aims for ‘people-first public realm’," 30 Nov. 2018 Both Uber Technologies and Lyft are expected to go public in 2019, after years of explosive growth that has laid waste to the traditional taxi industry. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Don’t Let Uber and Lyft Take You for a Ride," 8 Feb. 2019 After the civil war white Southerners blamed Abraham Lincoln’s Republicans for laying waste to their homeland, refusing to vote for them over the subsequent century. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 Colt McCoy laid waste to defenses in the 2008 season, leading the Longhorns to a 12–1 season. Will Mccollister, SI.com, "On the Outside Looking In: The Best Teams to Finish No. 3 in the BCS Era," 11 July 2018 Kim had laid waste to the LPGA record book with one of the great scoring exhibitions in golf history. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "D'Amato: She wanted to do 'something incredible,' and that Sei Young Kim did at Thornberry Creek," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The film paints Prince Charles as many things: a passionate environmentalist, a workaholic, a caring father, a witty speaker, and an heir to the throne who isn't wasting his time in the wings. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Charles at 70 Offers a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Royal Life," 21 Mar. 2019 And don't worry—LooLoo is designed not to waste sprays, either. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Banish Bathroom Smells Forever With LooLoo, a Hands-Free Toilet Freshener," 18 Mar. 2019 Unknown Worlds; Windows, Mac, Xbox One, PS4 Further Reading One main mystery makes survival in Subnautica worthwhile Subnautica doesn’t waste any time before throwing you in the thick of it. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Hand sanitizer: Van water is precious, so don’t waste it by washing your hands all the time. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The ultimate van life shopping guide," 14 Nov. 2018 Just as black women tried to warn white America during the 2016 elections, Waters is warning us not to waste our time seeking common ground with a virulent racist or the bigots who choose to work for him. Terrell Jermaine Starr, The Root, "Trump and Friends Come for Maxine Waters, a Black Woman Who Doesn’t Give a Damn About Your Calls for Civility," 25 June 2018 Sometimes confrontation is healthy. Don’t waste another moment waiting for the girl to level with you. Abigail Van Buren, Houston Chronicle, "Man learns he’s not first to propose marriage to girl," 20 June 2018 Whoopi wasted no time talking about President Trump's tweetstorm from this weekend. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Stars Whoopi Goldberg and Meghan McCain Went Off About President Trump's Tweets," 18 Mar. 2019 Much of the human labor was wasted on moving products between floors to inconveniently located machinery. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Richard Knowlton Saved Maker of Spam From the Meat Grinder," 22 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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.

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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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Learn More about waste

Dictionary Entries near waste

wast

wastable

wastage

waste

waste away

waste bank

wastebasket

Statistics for waste

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for waste

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

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More Definitions for waste

waste

noun

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

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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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on waste

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with waste

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for waste

Spanish Central: Translation of waste

Nglish: Translation of waste for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of waste for Arabic Speakers

Comments on waste

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