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Blech. These are the grossest words.


[weyst] /weɪst/
verb (used with object), wasted, wasting.
to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander:
to waste money; to waste words.
to fail or neglect to use:
to waste an opportunity.
to destroy or consume gradually; wear away:
The waves waste the rock of the shore.
to wear down or reduce in bodily substance, health, or strength; emaciate; enfeeble:
to be wasted by disease or hunger.
to destroy, devastate, or ruin:
a country wasted by a long and futile war.
Slang. to kill or murder.
verb (used without object), wasted, wasting.
to be consumed, spent, or employed uselessly or without giving full value or being fully utilized or appreciated.
to become gradually consumed, used up, or worn away:
A candle wastes in burning.
to become physically worn; lose flesh or strength; become emaciated or enfeebled.
to diminish gradually; dwindle, as wealth, power, etc.:
The might of England is wasting.
to pass gradually, as time.
useless consumption or expenditure; use without adequate return; an act or instance of wasting:
The project was a waste of material, money, time, and energy.
neglect, instead of use:
waste of opportunity.
gradual destruction, impairment, or decay:
the waste and repair of bodily tissue.
devastation or ruin, as from war or fire.
a region or place devastated or ruined:
The forest fire left a blackened waste.
anything unused, unproductive, or not properly utilized.
an uncultivated tract of land.
a wild region or tract of land; desolate country, desert, or the like.
an empty, desolate, or dreary tract or extent:
a waste of snow.
anything left over or superfluous, as excess material or by-products, not of use for the work in hand:
a fortune made in salvaging factory wastes.
remnants, as from the working of cotton, used for wiping machinery, absorbing oil, etc.
Physical Geography. material derived by mechanical and chemical disintegration of rock, as the detritus transported by streams, rivers, etc.
garbage; refuse.
wastes, excrement.
not used or in use:
waste energy; waste talents.
(of land, regions, etc.) wild, desolate, barren, or uninhabited; desert.
(of regions, towns, etc.) in a state of desolation and ruin, as from devastation or decay.
left over or superfluous:
to utilize waste products of manufacture.
having served or fulfilled a purpose; no longer of use.
rejected as useless or worthless; refuse:
to salvage waste products.
Physiology. pertaining to material unused by or unusable to the organism.
designed or used to receive, hold, or carry away excess, superfluous, used, or useless material (often in combination):
a waste pipe; waste container.
Obsolete. excessive; needless.
go to waste, to fail to be used or consumed; be wasted:
She hates to see good food go to waste.
lay waste, to devastate; destroy; ruin:
Forest fires lay waste thousands of acres yearly.
Origin of waste
1150-1200; 1960-65 for def 6; (adj.) Middle English < Old North French wast (Old French g(u)ast) < Latin vāstus desolate; (v.) Middle English < Old North French waster (Old French g(u)aster) < Latin vāstāre, derivative of vāstus; (noun) Middle English < Old North French wast(e) (Old French g(u)aste), partly < Latin vāstum, noun use of neuter of vāstus, partly derivative of waster; Old North French w-, Old French gu- by influence of cognate with Frankish *wōsti desolate (cognate with Old High German wuosti)
Related forms
wastable, adjective
wasteless, adjective
outwaste, verb (used with object), outwasted, outwasting.
unwastable, adjective
Can be confused
waist, waste.
1. misspend, dissipate, fritter away, expend. 3. erode. 5. ravage, pillage, plunder, sack, spoil, despoil. 10. decline, perish, wane, decay. 12. dissipation. 14. diminution, decline, emaciation, consumption. 15. spoliation, desolation. 24. rubbish, trash. 28. ruined, ghostly, destroyed. 29. unused, useless, extra.
1. save.
Synonym Study
19. See desert1. 36. See ravage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lay waste
Historical Examples
  • This made it possible for the Iroquois, unhindered, to lay waste the Illinois country.

    The Road to Frontenac Samuel Merwin
  • There were no forests to lay waste here, nor marshes to be drained.

    Winning the Wilderness Margaret Hill McCarter
  • Bothvar said, "This hall is not so well arrayed as I thought, if one beast can lay waste the kingdom and the cattle of the king."

    Beowulf R. W. Chambers
  • You may lay waste its fertile valleys and verdant hill-sides.

  • They are pitiless marauders who lay waste whole kingdoms and transform populous districts into gloomy solitudes.

    The Great White Queen William Le Queux
  • There are a thousand of them, and they can lay waste this island, if they get going.

    No Defense, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • A party of soldiers had been sent to lay waste his property, for clemency was not the order of the day.

    Waverley Sir Walter Scott
  • I will lay waste this duchy of hers, though in the end the emperor crush me.

    The Puppet Crown Harold MacGrath
  • This man sweareth by his spear, which he holdeth to be better than all the gods whatsoever, that he will lay waste this city.

    Stories of the Old world Alfred John Church
  • The Fabians roamed about in order to lay waste the enemys territory.

    Selections from Viri Romae Charles Franois L'Homond
British Dictionary definitions for lay waste


(transitive) to use, consume, or expend thoughtlessly, carelessly, or to no avail
(transitive) to fail to take advantage of: to waste an opportunity
when intr, often foll by away. to lose or cause to lose bodily strength, health, etc
to exhaust or become exhausted
(transitive) to ravage
(transitive) (informal) to murder or kill: I want that guy wasted by tomorrow
the act of wasting or state of being wasted
a failure to take advantage of something
anything unused or not used to full advantage
anything or anyone rejected as useless, worthless, or in excess of what is required
garbage, rubbish, or trash
a land or region that is devastated or ruined
a land or region that is wild or uncultivated
  1. the useless products of metabolism
  2. indigestible food residue
disintegrated rock material resulting from erosion
(law) reduction in the value of an estate caused by act or neglect, esp by a life-tenant
rejected as useless, unwanted, or worthless
produced in excess of what is required
not cultivated, inhabited, or productive: waste land
  1. of or denoting the useless products of metabolism
  2. of or denoting indigestible food residue
destroyed, devastated, or ruined
designed to contain or convey waste products
lay waste, to devastate or destroy
Derived Forms
wastable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French waster, from Latin vastāre to lay waste, from vastus empty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lay waste



c.1200, "devastate, ravage, ruin," from Anglo-French and Old North French waster "to spoil, ruin" (Old French guaster), altered (by influence of Frankish *wostjan) from Latin vastare "lay waste," from vastus "empty, desolate, waste" (see vain).

The word also existed in Old English as westan. Meaning "to lose strength or health; pine; weaken" is attested from c.1300; the sense of "squander, spend or consume uselessly" is first recorded mid-14c.; meaning "to kill" is from 1964. Wasted "intoxicated" is slang from 1950s. The adjective is recorded from late 13c.


c.1200, "desolate regions," from Old French wast, from Latin vastum, neuter of vastus "waste" (see waste (v.)).

Replaced Old English westen, woesten "a desert, wilderness," from the Latin word. Meaning "useless expenditure" is recorded from c.1300; sense of "refuse matter" is attested from c.1400. Waste basket first recorded 1850. Waste-paper first recorded 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lay waste in Medicine

waste (wāst)
v. wast·ed, wast·ing, wastes
To gradually lose energy, strength, or bodily substance, as from disease. n.
The undigested residue of food eliminated from the body; excrement.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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lay waste in Science
Noun  An unusable or unwanted substance or material, such as a waste product. See also hazardous waste, landfill.

Verb  To lose or cause to lose energy, strength, weight, or vigor, as by the progressive effects of a disease such as metastatic cancer.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for lay waste



  1. To defeat utterly; trounce, beat up; clobber (Teenagers fr 1950s+ Street gang)
  2. To wreck; destroy; mutilate; trash: Stallone wastes everything in his path (1450+)
  3. To kill; BLOW someone AWAY, TAKE someone or something OUT (1964+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with lay waste

lay waste

Ravage, ruin, as in The hurricane laid waste the entire seashore. Originally referring to the devastation caused by attackers, this term has come to be used more generally.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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