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

Little walks readers through the many complex threats to our food supply, including industrial agriculture’s role in waste, undernutrition and overconsumption; agricultural consolidation; and the harm to biodiversity. Amanda Little, Washington Post, "What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World," 30 Aug. 2019 For example, a 2007 study in 265 chain restaurants in the US found that restaurants with abusive managers lose more food from waste and theft. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 Especially when plastic utensils account for an enormous amount of waste, and nearly 40 billion of them are used every year in the U.S. alone. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "TSA-Approved Utensils That Are Actually Cute," 27 Aug. 2019 Greens, such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds, provide nitrogen. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Denver Post, "How Denver residents can start composting," 25 Aug. 2019 These nets, together with other waste, are then recycled, de-polymerized and transformed into modern, ECONYL regenerated nylon. James Love, Essence, "Prada Continues Their Sustainably Efforts With Their Prada Re-Nylon Initiative With National Geographic," 1 Aug. 2019 Water systems there are often contaminated by nitrates from pesticides, fertilizer runoff and dairy waste, as well as arsenic, which scientists believe is released into aquifers by overpumping. Alexei Koseff, SFChronicle.com, "Gavin Newsom signs $1 billion clean-water package for poor areas," 24 July 2019 No food scraps, batteries, yard waste, greasy pizza box lids (recycle the clean parts), Styrofoam, wet paper towels, diapers of any kind, clothing, shoes, toys, diabetic lancets, metal tools, nails and construction debris. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "The dos and the don'ts: How to recycle properly in Kentucky," 23 July 2019 Unlike charcoal, there’s hardly any waste to clean up. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Your Ultimate Grill Buying Guide—Tested and Approved," 18 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And Cruz hardly waste any time publishing a retort on social media. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "'I would school him': Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang challenges Ted Cruz in hoops," 12 Sep. 2019 The world had wasted so much energy that much of the early work was easy, like losing weight by getting your hair cut. Bill Mckibben, Time, "Hello From the Year 2050. We Avoided the Worst of Climate Change — But Everything Is Different," 12 Sep. 2019 Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams wasted little time making an impact with his new team and helped the Raiders move on from the Antonio Brown debacle Monday night. oregonlive, "Former Western Oregon star Tyrell Williams’ impressive debut helps Oakland Raiders fans forget Antonio Brown," 10 Sep. 2019 Formation chance through 48 hours: 10 percent Formation chance through 5 days: 60 percent Tropical Storm Gabrielle expected to become hurricane Gabrielle wasted no time before becoming a tropical storm — for the second time — Thursday morning. Cheryl Mccloud, USA TODAY, "Hurricane Center monitors 3 Atlantic systems; Gabrielle expected to become hurricane," 7 Sep. 2019 The coach almost wasted his time, as Anderson came close to benching Taylor for being late to a practice earlier in the week. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "The Insatiable Curiosity of Jonathan Taylor Drives His Relentless Dominance," 6 Sep. 2019 Why waste time on speeches and testimony when the outcome is preordained? Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "A Summer of Unprecedented Brutality in Moscow," 6 Sep. 2019 When Shawnee fumbled on the first possession, Goeso wasted little time and scored on the ensuing play, the first of eight touchdowns of the night. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Seneca High School football beats Shawnee for its first win since 2016," 6 Sep. 2019 Meghan Markle wasted no time thanking fans for their birthday wishes! Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "See the Pre-Baby Photo Meghan Markle Chose as a Thank-You Note for Her Birthday Well-Wishers," 5 Sep. 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

2 Sep 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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