1

waste

noun \ ˈwāst \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of waste

1 a : 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
3 a : loss through breaking down of bodily tissue
b : gradual loss or decrease by use, wear, or decay
4 a : 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

Examples of waste in a Sentence

  1. The current system causes a lot of waste.

  2. We need to find ways to reduce unnecessary waste.

  3. These old computers are still useful. It seems like such a waste to throw them away.

  4. Any further investment would be a waste of valuable resources.

  5. The city oversees waste disposal contracts.

Recent Examples of waste from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of waste

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


2

waste

verb

Definition of waste

wasted; wasting
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
4 a : 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
2 a : 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

Examples of waste in a Sentence

  1. Don't waste water during the summer drought.

  2. He always wasted his money on useless gadgets.

  3. Turn off the lights so we don't waste electricity.

  4. I think he's just wasting my time.

  5. We can't afford to waste so much food.

  6. We can't afford to waste this opportunity.

Recent Examples of waste from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of waste

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

waste Synonyms

Synonyms
blow, dissipate, fiddle away, fritter (away), lavish, lose, misspend, run through, spend, squander, throw away, trifle (away), play ducks and drakes with (or make ducks and drakes of)
Antonyms
conserve
Related Words
splurge; consume, deplete, exhaust, impoverish, overspend, shoot; indulge, overindulge; disburse, expend, lay out
Near Antonyms
economize, scrimp, skimp; preserve, protect, save; hoard, lay up

Synonym Discussion of waste

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

3

waste

adjective

Definition of waste

1 a (1) : being wild and uninhabited : desolate
(2) : arid, empty
b : not cultivated : not productive
2 : being in a ruined or devastated condition
3
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 : serving to conduct or hold refuse material
  • a waste barrel
; specifically : carrying off superfluous water
  • a waste drain
5 : wasted 4

Examples of waste in a Sentence

  1. waste acreage that was not fit for anything

Recent Examples of waste from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of waste

Middle English waste, wast, from Anglo-French wast


WASTE Defined for English Language Learners

waste

noun

Definition of waste for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of waste for English Language Learners

  • : 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

  • : to kill or murder (someone)


waste

adjective

Definition of waste for English Language Learners

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


WASTE Defined for Kids

1

waste

noun \ ˈwāst \

Definition of waste for Students

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

2

waste

verb

Definition of waste for Students

wasted; wasting
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

3

waste

adjective

Definition of waste for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

1

waste

noun \ ˈwāst \

medical Definition of waste

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

2

waste

verb

medical Definition of waste

wasted; wasting
transitive verb
: to cause to shrink in physical bulk or strength : emaciate
intransitive verb
: to lose weight, strength, or vitality often used with away

3

waste

adjective

medical Definition of waste

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

Law Dictionary

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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