View synonyms for waste


[ weyst ]

verb (used with object)

, wast·ed, wast·ing.
  1. to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander:

    to waste money; to waste words.

    Synonyms: fritter away, dissipate, misspend, expend

    Antonyms: save

  2. to fail or neglect to use:

    to waste an opportunity.

  3. to destroy or consume gradually; wear away:

    The waves waste the rock of the shore.

    Synonyms: erode

  4. to wear down or reduce in bodily substance, health, or strength; emaciate; enfeeble:

    to be wasted by disease or hunger.

  5. to destroy, devastate, or ruin:

    a country wasted by a long and futile war.

    Synonyms: despoil, spoil, sack, plunder, pillage, ravage

  6. Slang. to kill or murder.

verb (used without object)

, wast·ed, wast·ing.
  1. to be consumed, spent, or employed uselessly or without giving full value or being fully utilized or appreciated.
  2. to become gradually consumed, used up, or worn away:

    A candle wastes in burning.

  3. to become physically worn; lose flesh or strength; become emaciated or enfeebled.
  4. to diminish gradually; dwindle, as wealth, power, etc.:

    The might of England is wasting.

    Synonyms: decay, wane, ebb, decline

  5. to pass gradually, as time.


  1. 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.

    Synonyms: dissipation

  2. neglect, instead of use:

    waste of opportunity.

  3. gradual destruction, impairment, or decay:

    the waste and repair of bodily tissue.

    Synonyms: emaciation, decline, diminution, consumption

  4. devastation or ruin, as from war or fire.

    Synonyms: spoliation, desolation

  5. a region or place devastated or ruined:

    The forest fire left a blackened waste.

  6. anything unused, unproductive, or not properly utilized.
  7. an uncultivated tract of land.
  8. a wild region or tract of land; desolate country, desert, or the like.
  9. an empty, desolate, or dreary tract or extent:

    a waste of snow.

  10. 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.

  11. remnants, as from the working of cotton, used for wiping machinery, absorbing oil, etc.
  12. Physical Geography. material derived by mechanical and chemical disintegration of rock, as the detritus transported by streams, rivers, etc.
  13. garbage; refuse.

    Synonyms: trash, rubbish

  14. wastes, excrement.


  1. not used or in use:

    waste energy; waste talents.

  2. (of land, regions, etc.) wild, desolate, barren, or uninhabited; desert.
  3. (of regions, towns, etc.) in a state of desolation and ruin, as from devastation or decay.
  4. left over or superfluous:

    to utilize waste products of manufacture.

    Synonyms: extra, useless, unused

  5. having served or fulfilled a purpose; no longer of use.
  6. rejected as useless or worthless; refuse:

    to salvage waste products.

  7. Physiology. pertaining to material unused by or unusable to the organism.
  8. designed or used to receive, hold, or carry away excess, superfluous, used, or useless material (often in combination):

    a waste pipe; waste container.

  9. Obsolete. excessive; needless.


/ weɪst /


  1. tr to use, consume, or expend thoughtlessly, carelessly, or to no avail
  2. tr to fail to take advantage of

    to waste an opportunity

  3. whenintr, often foll by away to lose or cause to lose bodily strength, health, etc
  4. to exhaust or become exhausted
  5. tr to ravage
  6. informal.
    tr to murder or kill

    I want that guy wasted by tomorrow


  1. the act of wasting or state of being wasted
  2. a failure to take advantage of something
  3. anything unused or not used to full advantage
  4. anything or anyone rejected as useless, worthless, or in excess of what is required
  5. garbage, rubbish, or trash
  6. a land or region that is devastated or ruined
  7. a land or region that is wild or uncultivated
  8. physiol
    1. the useless products of metabolism
    2. indigestible food residue
  9. disintegrated rock material resulting from erosion
  10. law reduction in the value of an estate caused by act or neglect, esp by a life-tenant


  1. rejected as useless, unwanted, or worthless
  2. produced in excess of what is required
  3. not cultivated, inhabited, or productive

    waste land

    1. of or denoting the useless products of metabolism
    2. of or denoting indigestible food residue
  4. destroyed, devastated, or ruined
  5. designed to contain or convey waste products
  6. lay waste
    to devastate or destroy


/ wāst /


  1. An unusable or unwanted substance or material, such as a waste product.
  2. See also hazardous waste


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

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Derived Forms

  • ˈwastable, adjective

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Other Words From

  • wasta·ble adjective
  • wasteless adjective
  • outwaste verb (used with object) outwasted outwasting
  • un·wasta·ble adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of waste1

First recorded in 1150–1200; 1960–65 waste fordef 6; (for the adjective) Middle English, from Old North French wast (compare Old French g(u)ast ), from Latin vāstus “desolate, destroyed, empty, immense”; verb and noun derivative of the adjective; vast ( def )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of waste1

C13: from Anglo-French waster, from Latin vastāre to lay waste, from vastus empty

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. go to waste, to fail to be used or consumed; be wasted:

    She hates to see good food go to waste.

  2. lay waste, to devastate; destroy; ruin:

    Forest fires lay waste thousands of acres yearly.

More idioms and phrases containing waste

  • go to waste
  • haste makes waste
  • lay waste

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Synonym Study

See desert 1. See ravage.

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Example Sentences

A lot of time and energy is wasted among analysts in debating how exactly to characterize skewed maps that result from residential segregation.

From Vox

Not surprisingly, the vast waste deposits produced during the Great Acceleration figure prominently in the search for a suitable stratigraphic section to place the GSSP that will mark the start of the Anthropocene.

Some of the ones my other friend got were round, which wastes space.

“If you don’t find out what the answer is, you’re kind of wasting your time,” he says.

You do not have to waste your time on the same project again and use it on another channel or place to reach your target audience quickly and easily.

When twelve people are killed by violence, whoever they are, for whatever reason, that is a tragedy and a waste.

First, though, he has to be shocked into recognizing the barren waste of his spiritual life – by spirits.

He said he watched waste haulers back up to the pit and unleash torrents of watery muck.

Kocurek became especially frustrated with a commercial waste facility in Jim Wells County.

They also used the powers of their separate agencies to cite waste haulers for spilling sludge along roadways.

It is the principal waste-product of metabolism, and constitutes about one-half of all the solids excreted—about 30 gm.

Then the croupier tears open two packets of new cards, flinging the old ones into a waste-paper basket at his side.

Don't waste your valuable time looking for the biggest angleworm in the garden!

In a literal sense, too,” added Tom Brown, “for it will be sold as waste-paper and be made up into matches.

Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, it is silent: because the wall of Moab is destroyed in the night, it is silent.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




wastagewaste away