waste 1 of 3

as in desert
land that is uninhabited or not fit for crops an area that was a barren waste after the strip-mining had ended

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in dung
solid matter discharged from an animal's alimentary canal a local ordinance requiring dog owners to properly dispose of their pet's waste

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in erosion
a gradual weakening, loss, or destruction the slow waste of the once broad beach by the relentless tide

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms


2 of 3


as in to ruin
to bring to a complete end the physical soundness, existence, or usefulness of one country attempting to waste another

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms



3 of 3


Synonym Chooser

How does the verb waste contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of waste are despoil, devastate, pillage, ravage, and sack. While all these words mean "to lay waste by plundering or destroying," waste may imply producing the same result by a slow process rather than sudden and violent action.

years of drought had wasted the area

When would despoil be a good substitute for waste?

In some situations, the words despoil and waste are roughly equivalent. However, despoil applies to looting or robbing without suggesting accompanying destruction.

the Nazis despoiled the art museums

When is it sensible to use devastate instead of waste?

Although the words devastate and waste have much in common, devastate implies the complete ruin and desolation of a wide area.

an earthquake devastated the city

How are the words pillage and sack related as synonyms of waste?

Pillage implies ruthless plundering at will but without the completeness suggested by sack.

settlements pillaged by Vikings

When is ravage a more appropriate choice than waste?

The words ravage and waste are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ravage implies violent often cumulative depredation and destruction.

a hurricane ravaged the coast

In what contexts can sack take the place of waste?

The synonyms sack and waste are sometimes interchangeable, but sack implies carrying off all valuable possessions from a place.

barbarians sacked ancient Rome

Thesaurus Entries Near waste

Cite this Entry

“Waste.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/waste. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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