See more synonyms for wasted on Thesaurus.com
  1. waste(defs 26–28).
  2. done to no avail; useless: wasted efforts.
  3. physically or psychologically exhausted; debilitated: to be wasted by a long illness.
  4. Slang. overcome by the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  5. Archaic. (of time) gone by.

Origin of wasted

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at waste, -ed2
Related formswast·ed·ness, nounun·wast·ed, adjective


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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  2. neglect, instead of use: waste of opportunity.
  3. gradual destruction, impairment, or decay: the waste and repair of bodily tissue.
  4. devastation or ruin, as from war or fire.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.

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

Synonyms for waste

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com

Synonym study

19. See desert1. 36. See ravage.

Antonyms for waste

1. save.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wasted

Contemporary Examples of wasted

Historical Examples of wasted

  • Why, we wasted enough from breakfast to feed a small family.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I've wasted nearly three hours here now, dilly-dallying along.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But whether it was the food she gave him or what, 'e was that wasted you wouldn't have known him.

  • These matters did not interest the searcher in the slightest; they only wasted his precious time.


    W. A. Fraser

  • But he had nothing to show for the time he had spent or the money he had wasted.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

British Dictionary definitions for wasted


  1. not exploited or taken advantage ofa wasted opportunity
  2. useless or unprofitablewasted effort
  3. physically enfeebled and emaciateda thin wasted figure
  4. slang showing signs of habitual drug abuse


  1. (tr) to use, consume, or expend thoughtlessly, carelessly, or to no avail
  2. (tr) to fail to take advantage ofto waste an opportunity
  3. (when intr, 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. (tr) informal to murder or killI 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 productivewaste 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
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

Word Origin and History for wasted



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.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wasted in Medicine


  1. To gradually lose energy, strength, or bodily substance, as from disease.
  1. 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.

wasted in Science


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


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.