[ik-spen-duh-buh l]


capable of being expended.
(of an item of equipment or supply) consumed in use or not reusable.
considered to be not worth keeping or maintaining.
Military. (of personnel, equipment, or supplies) capable of being sacrificed in order to accomplish a military objective.


Usually expendables. an expendable person or thing.

Origin of expendable

First recorded in 1795–1805; expend + -able
Related formsex·pend·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·ex·pend·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for expendable

Contemporary Examples of expendable

Historical Examples of expendable

  • There are too many imponderables: you are, to a certain degree, expendable.

  • I know you hate to burn up a ship, but this one is supposed to be expendable.

    Unwise Child

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • If we're caught, who knows better than we that we're expendable?


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • Hoskins goes, because of all of us, the Engineer is most expendable.

    Breaking Point

    James E. Gunn

  • In attempting to avert that tragedy I'm expendable, as is everyone else here.

    Planet of the Damned

    Harry Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for expendable



that may be expended or used up
not essential; not worth preserving
able to be sacrificed to achieve an objective, esp a military one


something that is expendable
Derived Formsexpendability, noun
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 expendable

1805, from expend + -able.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper