Meaning of WASTE in English


I. ˈwāst noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English waste, wast; in sense 1, from Old North French wast, from wast, adjective, wild, desolate, waste, from Latin vastus unoccupied, desolate, waste; akin to Old English wēste desolate, waste, Old High German wuosti, Latin vanus empty, vain; in other senses, from Middle English wasten to waste — more at wane



(1) : an uninhabited or sparsely settled region : wilderness

this waste of mud; water, and monotonous vegetation — Wilfred Thesiger

the trackless wastes of the pine hills — Adria Langley

(2) : barren land worthless for cultivation and more or less bare of vegetation : desert

a sandy waste of several square miles that was once forest and later farm lands — American Guide Series: Michigan

(3) : a desolate and cheerless region or place ; specifically : a place made barren or forbidding by human agency

a quiet countryside was converted by the ironmasters into one of the ugliest wastes ever created by man — L.D.Stamp

(4) : something arid, deserted, or forbidding

so was his life become a hopeless waste — B.A.Williams

b. : uncultivated land ; specifically : land subject to the right of common


(1) : a broad and empty expanse (as of water or air)

outposts staring over the seething Atlantic wastes — Marjory S. Douglas

(2) : an endless stretch (as of time)

all those who have died throughout the long wastes of time — J.S.Bradford

one o'clock, and then another long, long waste of quarters — Rumer Godden

d. : a disused part of a coal mine


a. : the act or action of wasting : useless or profitless consumption or expenditure : loss without equivalent gain

this present era of efficiency ought … to avoid the waste of ability — C.H.Grandgent

waste of time

waste of money

b. : an instance of wasting

thought it was an economic waste to have a car sitting in the garage all day long — M.M.Musselman


a. : loss through breaking down of bodily tissue

b. : gradual loss or decrease by use, wear, or decay

c. chiefly dialect : a bodily consumption by disease


a. : damaged, defective, or superfluous material produced during or left over from a manufacturing process or industrial operation : material not usable for the ordinary or main purpose of manufacture: as

(1) : material rejected during a textile manufacturing process and either recovered for reworking (as yarn) or used usually for wiping dirt and oil from hands and machinery

(2) : scrap

(3) : fluid (as steam) allowed to escape without being utilized

(4) : worthless material removed in mining or digging operations

(5) : a soft absorbent material that when saturated with oil and packed in a journal of a railroad car equipped with solid bearings serve to lubricate the journal

b. : refuse from places of human or animal habitation: as

(1) : garbage , rubbish

no receptacle for waste may be washed in a pond, lake, or stream — American Guide Series: New Hampshire

(2) wastes plural : excrement , ordure

the proper disposal, or lack of disposal here, of human wastes — Orient Book World

barnyard wastes

(3) : sewage

c. : material derived by mechanical and chemical weathering and moved down sloping surfaces or carried by streams to the sea

as rock waste continues to stream away from every part of the area in turn, valleys are widened — Arthur Holmes


a. : destruction or injury done to property (as houses, woods, or land) by a temporary or life tenant to the prejudice of the heir or of him in reversion or remainder — see permissive waste

b. : destruction, ruin, or devastation caused by some disaster (as war, fire, or flood)

give edge unto the swords that make such waste — Shakespeare

6. obsolete : consumption , use

have the expense and waste of his revenues — Shakespeare

7. : waste pipe

8. archaic : overabundance , profusion

Synonyms: see refuse

- go to waste

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English wasten, from Old North French waster, from Latin vastare to lay waste, ravage, from vastus desolate, waste

transitive verb

1. : to lay waste : bring to ruin : devastate

shown how the Union preserved the States from wasting and destroying one another — Van Wyck Brooks

2. : to cause to shrink in physical bulk or strength : cause to become consumed or weakened : emaciate , enfeeble

the emaciated and battered figure of that poet whom desire, disease, and prison wasted — F.J.Mather


a. : to wear away or impair gradually : diminish by constant loss : use up : consume

the broad gray summit is barren and desolate-looking … wasted by ages of gnawing storms — John Muir †1914

the aboriginal population had been wasted by the epidemics of the eighteenth century — W.C.Massey

b. archaic : spend , use

companions that do converse and waste the time together — Shakespeare

c. : to dispose of as waste

the dirty water is drained off from the top and wasted into a sewer — V.M.Ehlers & E.W.Steel


a. : to spend or use needlessly, carelessly, or without valuable result : consume or employ to no purpose : squander

waste money

waste time

waste effort

waste sympathy

b. : to leave unrecognized or unappreciated

an actor wasted on an inattentive audience

a pun wasted on his students

full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air — Thomas Gray

c. : to allow to be used inefficiently or become dissipated or lost

heat wasted in the process

d. : to let pass without taking advantage of

waste a golden opportunity

5. obsolete : impoverish

have wasted myself out of my means — Shakespeare

intransitive verb


a. : to lose weight, strength, or vitality : become gradually feebler — often used with away

women and children … wasting away in the mills — V.L.Parrington

b. of a jockey : to exercise in order to lose weight

had little difficulty in making eight stone, but … took rides at 7 st. 4 lb. and under, and wasted hard to make it — Richard Lane


a. : to become diminished in bulk or substance : become worn away by degrees

still remaining, but gradually wasting from the surface rock on which they were carved — American Guide Series: Oregon

b. : to become consumed : become used up

allowed our natural riches to waste with startling rapidity — U.S. Code

3. : elapse , pass

time wastes too fast — Laurence Sterne

4. : to spend money or consume property extravagantly or improvidently

waste not, want not

5. : to run off as waste

allowing water to waste when it reaches a certain elevation — Water & Sewage Control Engineering

wastes back into the sea through short rivers — Roscoe Fleming


squander , dissipate , fritter , consume : waste implies ill-considered, or thoughtless expenditure, fruitless and sometimes prodigal, without fit return or valuable result

what a tremendous amount of energy is wasted in hauling, lifting, and spinning unnecessarily heavy masses of metal — Waldemar Kaempffert

the windows were thickly frosted over, so that … art in dressing them was quite wasted — Arnold Bennett

squander applies to silly, reckless, profuse expenditure likely to impoverish

squanders in reckless gambling and debauchery — C.C.Walcutt

squandering your early enthusiasm in futile attempt to excite the world about your ideas and your plans — W.J.Reilly

dissipate may suggest extravagant scattering or dispersion through indulgence or folly to the point of exhaustion

doubtless his great and varied mental powers were dissipated by desultory labors, and by his inability to concentrate on a single task — Merle Curti

unable to weather the storms of Reconstruction, its endowment dissipated in worthless securities, the institution was closed — American Guide Series: North Carolina

fritter implies gradual dissipation of resources by piecemeal expenditure by bits, usually on foolish trifles

fritter away a fortune on petty vices

the cathode was slowly frittered away, its substance becoming encrusted on the walls and other parts of the tube — K.K.Darrow

consume may refer to any wasteful devouring or destroying

tuberculosis that consumed her at the age of thirty-four — Harry Levin

for some cities are desolated by ruin, others consumed by the sword — G.G.Coulton

Synonym: see in addition ravage .

- waste one

- waste one's breath

III. adjective

Etymology: Middle English waste, wast, from Old North French wast — more at waste I



(1) : wild and uninhabited : not supporting or incapable of supporting a living community : barren , desolate

waste places

(2) : arid , dismal , empty

the waste realms of nonexistence — L.P.Smith

b. : not used for pasture or crops : uncultivated , unproductive

a small piece of waste land which the farmers could readily spare — R.P.T.Coffin

2. : being in a ruined or uncultivated condition : devastated

arrives at a large city, burnt and waste — Publ's Mod. Lang. Association of American

a bombing that laid waste the city

for lack of manpower, large areas lie waste

3. archaic : unoccupied , vacant

a large waste barn, which had survived the farmhouse to which it had once belonged — Sir Walter Scott


[ waste (I) ]

a. : thrown away or aside as worthless, defective, or of no further use during or at the end of a process : refuse

waste water

waste material

b. : allowed to escape unused

waste steam

waste power

c. : excreted by an animal body

waste matter


[ waste (I) ]

: serving to conduct or hold refuse material ; specifically : carrying off, providing for, or regulating the outflow of superfluous water

a waste cock

a waste drain

a waste spout

IV. transitive verb

: to kill or severely injure

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.