[waste] n [ME waste, wast; in sense 1, fr. ONF wast, fr. wast, adj., desolate, waste, fr. L vastus; in other senses, fr. ME wasten to waste--more at vast] (13c) 1 a: 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 3 a: loss through breaking down of bodily tissue b: gradual loss or decrease by use, wear, or decay
4. a: damaged, defective, or superfluous material produced by a manufacturing process: as (1): material rejected during a textile manufacturing process and used usu. for wiping away dirt and oil "cotton ~" (2): scrap (3): an unwanted by-product of a manufacturing process, chemical laboratory, or nuclear reactor "toxic ~" "hazardous ~" "nuclear ~" b: refuse from places of human or animal habitation: as (1): garbage, rubbish (2): excrement--often used in pl. (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 vb wast.ed ; wast.ing [ME, fr. ONF waster, fr. L vastare, fr. vastus desolate, waste] vt (13c) 1: to lay waste; esp: 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
3: to wear away or diminish gradually: consume
4. a: to spend or use carelessly: squander b: to allow to be used inefficiently or become dissipated
5: kill; also: to injure severely ~ vi 1: to lose weight, strength, or vitality--often used with away
2. a: to become diminished in bulk or substance b: to become consumed
3: to spend money or consume property extravagantly or improvidently syn see ravage -- waste one's breath : to accomplish nothing by speaking waste adj [ME waste, wast, fr. ONF wast] (14c) 1 a (1): being wild and uninhabited: desolate (2): arid, empty b: not cultivated: not productive
2: being in a ruined or devastated condition 3 [waste] a: discarded as worthless, defective, or of no use: refuse "~ material" b: excreted from or stored in inert form in a living body as a byproduct of vital activity "~ disposal in birds"
4. [waste]: serving to conduct or hold refuse material; specif: carrying off superfluous water