waste

noun
\ˈwāst \

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

Of the eight million metric tons of plastic waste that gets lost at sea every year, most breaks down into tiny microplastics that eventually get ingested by humans via seafood. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Critics of Starbucks’ Straw Ban Are Missing the Point," 12 July 2018 About 275 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons entering the ocean, according to a 2015 Science magazine report. Gina Martinez, Time, "Starbucks Is Ditching Plastic Straws. Here Are 3 of the Most Common Alternatives," 9 July 2018 The aim is to improve health, reduce emissions and tackle plastic waste. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "Area teen creates plan to reduce erosion, improve water quality at Lake Houston," 6 July 2018 Already, that extra plastic waste is ending up in landfills, but this is perhaps one of the worst ways to handle the problem. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "China Stops Buying the World's Trash, Leaving 120 Million Tons Up for Grabs," 22 June 2018 Since 1992, China has imported about 106 million metric tons of plastic waste. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Thanks to China, over 100 million metric tons of plastic waste will soon have nowhere to go," 22 June 2018 The move by McDonald’s comes as plastic waste has come under fire globally, particularly for contributing to ocean pollution and harming birds and sea mammals. Craig Giammona, Bloomberg.com, "McDonald's Taps Paper Straws in U.K. to Trim Down Plastic Waste," 15 June 2018 According to a 2016 Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) report, plastic waste is a major source of ocean litter, and certain products can be very dangerous to marine animals. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "I Tried Avoiding Single-Use Plastic for a Week and OMG Was It Hard," 11 June 2018 This waste of life #TessThompsonTalley is hunting beautiful creatures for a laugh. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Hunter defends killing 'rare' black giraffe, says it was too old to breed," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Specifically, severe caloric malnutrition associated with muscle wasting. Dipesh Navsaria, Houston Chronicle, "What parents should know to prevent — and deal with — bug bites," 6 July 2018 There’s only one kind of luck worse than bad luck — wasted luck. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles’ luck turns, if only for a day, as 8-2 win over Angels snaps seven-game skid," 1 July 2018 President Trump wasting no time meeting with key senators yesterday to discuss the replacement. Fox News, "Democrats' new rallying cry: 'Abolish ICE'," 30 June 2018 The game’s charm, visuals, and novelty hold up for a quite solid few hours of fun, and the premise isn’t completely wasted. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Jurassic World Evolution," 19 June 2018 In short, don’t let that thing waste away in a drawer. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "9 clever ways to re-purpose your old cell phone," 29 May 2018 In short, don’t let that thing waste away in a drawer. Kim Komando, Fox News, "9 clever ways to repurpose your old cell phone," 25 May 2018 And some researchers suggest that the government is increasingly wasting scarce funds on scholarship that promotes a particular agenda or controversial theories of national origin. Kata Karáth, Science | AAAS, "Hungarian scientists are on edge as country is poised to force out top university," 10 May 2018 The electricity had gone out earlier that day, dropping the grimy corridors and sleeping rooms into darkness, and Bo wasn’t going to waste his chance. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "A transgender girl rises up against alien invaders in Rich Larson’s novel Annex," 8 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near waste

wast

wastable

wastage

waste

waste away

waste bank

wastebasket

Statistics for waste

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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

: 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 \

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 \

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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