verb (used with object), con·sumed, con·sum·ing.

verb (used without object), con·sumed, con·sum·ing.

to undergo destruction; waste away.
to use or use up consumer goods.

Origin of consume

1350–1400; Middle English (< Middle French consumer) < Latin consūmere, equivalent to con- con- + sūmere to take up (perhaps < *suzm- < *subzm- < *subs-(e)m-, equivalent to subs-, variant of sub- sub- + emere to take, buy)
Related formshalf-con·sumed, adjectiveo·ver·con·sume, verb, o·ver·con·sumed, o·ver·con·sum·ing.pre·con·sume, verb (used with object), pre·con·sumed, pre·con·sum·ing.un·con·sumed, adjectiveun·der·con·sume, verb (used with object), un·der·con·sumed, un·der·con·sum·ing.

Synonyms for consume Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for consume

Contemporary Examples of consume

Historical Examples of consume

  • He sat up and began to consume his soup, scarce doing it justice.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • You're liable to start a conflagration you can't stop, and that may consume yourself, is all.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • It was not worth while to consume the time of the House about it.

  • It is not, of course, the root of the plant which we consume.


    Benjamin Taylor

  • Every man would produce as little and consume as much as he liked.

British Dictionary definitions for consume



(tr) to eat or drink
(tr; often passive) to engross or obsess
(tr) to use up; expendmy car consumes little oil
to destroy or be destroyed by burning, decomposition, etcfire consumed the forest
(tr) to waste or squanderthe time consumed on that project was excessive
(passive) to waste away
Derived Formsconsuming, adjectiveconsumingly, adverb

Word Origin for consume

C14: from Latin consūmere to devour, from com- (intensive) + sūmere to take up, from emere to take, purchase
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

Word Origin and History for consume

late 14c., from Old French consumer "to consume" (12c.) and directly from Latin consumere "to use up, eat, waste," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + sumere "to take," from sub- "under" + emere "to buy, take" (see exempt (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper