Idioms

    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 formswast·a·ble, adjectivewaste·less, adjectiveout·waste, verb (used with object), out·wast·ed, out·wast·ing.un·wast·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedwaist waste

Synonym study

19. See desert1. 36. See ravage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for lay waste

waste

/ (weɪst) /

verb

noun

adjective

Derived Formswastable, adjective

Word Origin for waste

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

Medicine definitions for lay waste

waste

[ wāst ]

v.

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.

Science definitions for lay waste

waste

[ wāst ]

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with lay waste (1 of 2)

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.

Idioms and Phrases with lay waste (2 of 2)

waste


In addition to the idioms beginning with waste

  • waste away
  • waste not, want not
  • waste one's breath

also see:

  • go to waste
  • haste makes waste
  • lay waste
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.