con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Definition of consume

transitive verb

1 : to do away with completely : destroy Fire consumed several buildings.
2a : to spend wastefully : squander consumed his inheritance on luxuries
b : use up Writing consumed much of his time.
3a : to eat or drink especially in great quantity consumed several bags of pretzels
b : to enjoy avidly : devour … mysteries, which she consumes for fun …— Eden Ross Lipson
4 : to engage fully : engross consumed with curiosity
5 : to utilize as a customer consume goods and services

intransitive verb

1 : to waste or burn away : perish
2 : to utilize economic goods

Synonyms for consume


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of consume in a Sentence

The new lights consume less electricity. She's making an effort to live more simply and consume less. Hundreds of books were consumed in the fire.
Recent Examples on the Web Desmond didn’t state his reasons for voting against the plan, but asked whether the tax ordinance would include a fee for marijuana lounges that allow customers to consume the product on site. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 May 2022 YouTube is hugely popular in Russia and has been a key way for millions of Russians to consume news and entertainment videos for years. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2022 That's a lot of alcohol to consume for somebody of her size, and for many people, if not most people. CBS News, 5 Mar. 2022 The way enterprises consume services is also evolving. Ido Susan, Forbes, 6 May 2022 That includes the food and water that cows and pigs consume, fuel burned in trucking the animals and animal products to farms and warehouses, and energy consumed by operating the barns and running milking machines. Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Plan to cut out the middle creature and consume plants directly. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 22 Mar. 2022 The way these fans consume music has shifted and has opened new ways to approach this audience. Paul Herrera, Rolling Stone, 18 Mar. 2022 That can take months or years and consume staff time, rather than quickly publishing an item in the Internal Revenue Bulletin with immediate effect. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 13 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consume.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of consume

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for consume

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French consumer, from Latin consumere, from com- + sumere to take up, take, from sub- up + emere to take — more at sub-, redeem

Learn More About consume

Time Traveler for consume

Time Traveler

The first known use of consume was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near consume




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for consume

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Consume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for consume


con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Kids Definition of consume

1 : to destroy by or as if by fire
2 : to eat or drink up
3 : to use up consume electricity Our entire day was consumed searching for his glasses.
4 : to take up the interest or attention of Curiosity consumed the crowd.

More from Merriam-Webster on consume

Nglish: Translation of consume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consume for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!