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 [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 In addition to the pop stars of a time gone by, Gen Z’s obsession with thrifting is also part of their desire to create a future with less waste. NBC News, 25 July 2021 The process also powers high-volume manufacturing of parts using less energy process and with less waste. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 July 2021 Never one to let a crisis go to waste, the IMF has used the COVID pandemic to strike gold. Steve H. Hanke, National Review, 16 July 2021 There are more than a million tons of unexploded munitions here, as well as chemical weapons and radioactive waste, jettisoned by the UK Ministry of Defence between World War II and the mid-1970s. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 3 July 2021 Even some locals have signed on to dump household food waste into the restaurant bins. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 1 July 2021 In this day and age, hangers would seem like a savings in waste, in addition to doing away with a pet peeve of mine! Washington Post, 29 June 2021 Employees pull bowling balls by hand, dropping them down a chute or piling them with other waste to be carted away to landfills. Eleanor Cummins, Curbed, 29 June 2021 Most Nevadans are opposed to storing the nation’s radioactive waste at the site about 100 miles from Las Vegas. Michelle L. Price, ajc, 11 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is a little more than a year away but Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore didn't waste a moment in making an endorsement. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 July 2021 Apparel company Homage spotted the T-shirt, too, and didn't waste any time cashing in on the exposure. Kendra Meinert, USA TODAY, 27 July 2021 Bowman had a second chance in a flash and this time would not waste the lead. Dan Gelston, ajc, 27 June 2021 The key is to not waste time fretting about a downward spiral into mediocrity, and instead, figure out a plan to regain your creative footing. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021 Gareth Evans doesn’t waste any time telling us what kind of show Gangs of London is going to be. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 4 Apr. 2021 Get this job done as soon as possible so the plants do not waste time making lots of new growth. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, 3 Apr. 2021 The man, who has not been identified, also reported that people working at other Amazon centers across the country had similar accounts of perfectly decent products going to waste. Washington Post, 23 June 2021 The man, who has not been identified, also reported that people working at other Amazon centers across the country had similar accounts of usable products going to waste. Jennifer Hassan, Anchorage Daily News, 23 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For many of them, working at a high-growth company with a feel-good, anti-waste mission had felt like the pinnacle of their working lives. Lauren Weber, WSJ, 17 May 2021 The new anti-waste law aims to encourage buyers to repair their devices rather than replace them with new products. Chris Smith, BGR, 26 Feb. 2021 To boost that percentage, France passed an anti-waste bill last year mandating that electronics manufacturers make a repairability index visible on their products. Maddie Stone, Wired, 20 Feb. 2021 One study shows that restaurants save $7 for every $1 invested in anti-waste methods. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Mar. 2020 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, 11 June 2020 The most accessible plank of the action plan for most residents is waste reduction. Anchorage Daily News, 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, 7 Mar. 2020 Sowers did not waste time, impressing Kyle Shanahan, then the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, in 2016. Talya Minsberg, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2020

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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Dictionary Entries Near waste

wastage

waste

waste away

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Statistics for waste

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Waste.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waste. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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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)

More from Merriam-Webster on waste

Nglish: Translation of waste for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of waste for Arabic Speakers

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