v., adj., & n.
v. 1 tr. use to no purpose or for inadequate result or extravagantly (waste time). 2 tr. fail to use (esp. an opportunity). 3 tr. (often foll. by on) give (advice etc.), utter (words etc.), without effect. 4 tr. & intr. wear gradually away; make or become weak; wither. 5 tr. ravage, devastate. 6 tr. treat as wasted or valueless. 7 intr. be expended without useful effect.
adj. 1 superfluous; no longer serving a purpose. 2 (of a district etc.) not inhabited or cultivated; desolate (waste ground). 3 presenting no features of interest.
n. 1 the act or an instance of wasting; extravagant or ineffectual use of an asset, of time, etc. 2 waste material or food; refuse; useless remains or by-products. 3 a waste region; a desert etc. 4 the state of being used up; diminution by wear and tear. 5 Law damage to an estate caused by an act or by neglect, esp. by a life-tenant. 6 = waste pipe. go (or run) to waste be wasted. lay waste ravage, devastate. waste-basket esp. US = waste-paper basket. waste one's breath see BREATH. waste not, want not extravagance leads to poverty. waste paper spoiled or valueless paper. waste-paper basket esp. Brit. a receptacle for waste paper. waste pipe a pipe to carry off waste material, e.g. from a sink. waste products useless by-products of manufacture or of an organism or organisms. waste words see WORD. wastable adj. wasteless adj.
[ ME f. ONF wast(e), var. of OF g(u)ast(e), f. L vastus ]