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

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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 Andrew Fasoli, a spokesman for the trade group, the American Chemistry Council, said that the solution to foam waste was not to ban the material, but to invest in advanced recycling technology capable of processing polystyrene. New York Times, "New York State Moves to Ban Foam Food Containers," 23 Dec. 2019 Rey herself didn’t seem to know, staying in the Outer Rim wastes of Jakku in the hopes that one day her family would return to collect her. Lauren Morgan, EW.com, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 21 Dec. 2019 The new version, a Canadian product called Change Toothpaste, is motivated primarily by a desire to take the packaging waste out of the existing toothpaste market. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Here's Your New Pretend Toothpaste," 19 Dec. 2019 Wrap gifts with upcycled paper, old scarves, or anything else that won't add to the immense waste generated by the holiday season. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "Q: Am I a bad parent if I sacrifice holiday cheer for the environment?," 18 Dec. 2019 From Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River catching fire to the thick smog that often hung over Los Angeles to the toxic waste and human health crisis of Love Canal, the problems seemed obvious. The Economist, "How to rethink environmental policies from “no” to “go”," 12 Dec. 2019 Tommy Thompson, a spokesman for the department, later clarified that the human waste was the type found in a septic tank or a portable toilet. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "South Phoenix road closed due to cooking oil spill," 7 Dec. 2019 The rainwater turned the coal waste into liquid slurry, which spilled out after the tip collapsed and slid down the mountainside, creating an avalanche that buried several buildings in Aberfan, including the Pantglas Junior School. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Crown Season 3: The Devastating True Story of the Aberfan Mining Disaster," 21 Nov. 2019 The waste from the toilets was directed straight into an adjacent stream, which took it to the sea. Purva Dewoolkar, Quartz India, "India and China compete again—for whose toilet revolution is worse," 20 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Her home is the last place the young father is known to have been seen, and Armstrong said her false statements led to misdirection in the investigation and resulted in wasted time and resources. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, "Deputies locate 3 persons of interest in Walker County man’s disappearance," 28 Dec. 2019 The film rushes between plot points, overuses certain characters, and wastes others. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker spoiler-free review: Kylo, Rey save the film," 18 Dec. 2019 Beyond being considered #ravegoals for some, the sheer exuberance of wasting food symbolized the decadence and celebratory excess of EDM itself. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The Top 100 Moments of the EDM Decade," 17 Dec. 2019 But in the food supply chain, an early signal to ripen can be disastrous, leading to millions of dollars in wasted food every year, says Katherine Sizov, founder and CEO of Strella. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "Apples talk to each other. Eavesdropping can save millions from the trash bin," 10 Dec. 2019 This easy gift lets travelers scoop up all the mangosteens and elephant pants their heart desires—without wasting a plastic bag each time. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "9 Gifts for Your Friend Who Quit Their Job to Backpack Through Southeast Asia," 10 Dec. 2019 DeMar DeRozan has found his offensive groove, but the Spurs, for the most part, are wasting the surge in production. Tom Orsborn, ExpressNews.com, "DeMar DeRozan stays positive in San Antonio Spurs’ tough times," 26 Nov. 2019 There won’t be any time wasted in coming to grips with the current situation. Ruth Pollard, Bloomberg.com, "Sri Lanka’s New Strongman Promises ‘Tolerance’ For Minorities," 17 Nov. 2019 The Lizzie McGuire reboot is officially underway and the cast is not wasting any time sharing photos from the set and what fans can expect. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "The First Look at the "Lizzie McGuire" Revival is Here and It Already Looks Amazing," 31 Oct. 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

Time Traveler for waste

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for waste

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Waste.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waste. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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

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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

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

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