What does waste mean?

Definitions for waste

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word waste.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. waste, waste material, waste matter, waste productnoun

    any materials unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted

    "they collect the waste once a week"; "much of the waste material is carried off in the sewers"

  2. waste, wastefulness, dissipationnoun

    useless or profitless activity; using or expending or consuming thoughtlessly or carelessly

    "if the effort brings no compensating gain it is a waste"; "mindless dissipation of natural resources"

  3. thriftlessness, waste, wastefulnessnoun

    the trait of wasting resources

    "a life characterized by thriftlessness and waste"; "the wastefulness of missed opportunities"

  4. barren, waste, wastelandnoun

    an uninhabited wilderness that is worthless for cultivation

    "the barrens of central Africa"; "the trackless wastes of the desert"

  5. waste, permissive wasteadjective

    (law) reduction in the value of an estate caused by act or neglect

  6. godforsaken, waste, wildverb

    located in a dismal or remote area; desolate

    "a desert island"; "a godforsaken wilderness crossroads"; "a wild stretch of land"; "waste places"

  7. waste, blow, squanderverb

    spend thoughtlessly; throw away

    "He wasted his inheritance on his insincere friends"; "You squandered the opportunity to get and advanced degree"

  8. wasteverb

    use inefficiently or inappropriately

    "waste heat"; "waste a joke on an unappreciative audience"

  9. wasteverb

    get rid of

    "We waste the dirty water by channeling it into the sewer"

  10. waste, run offverb

    run off as waste

    "The water wastes back into the ocean"

  11. neutralize, neutralise, liquidate, waste, knock off, do inverb

    get rid of (someone who may be a threat) by killing

    "The mafia liquidated the informer"; "the double agent was neutralized"

  12. consume, squander, waste, wareverb

    spend extravagantly

    "waste not, want not"

  13. pine away, waste, languishverb

    lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief

    "After her husband died, she just pined away"

  14. waste, emaciate, macerateverb

    cause to grow thin or weak

    "The treatment emaciated him"

  15. lay waste to, waste, devastate, desolate, ravage, scourgeverb

    cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly

    "The enemy lay waste to the countryside after the invasion"

  16. waste, rotverb

    become physically weaker

    "Political prisoners are wasting away in many prisons all over the world"


  1. Wasteverb

    To be diminished; to lose bulk, substance, strength, value, or the like, gradually; to be consumed; to dwindle; to grow less; -- commonly used with away.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Wasteadjective

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Sophi leaves all waste in his retreat. John Milton.

    The multiplication and obstinacy of disputes, which have so laid waste the intellectual world, is owing to nothing more than to the ill use of words. John Locke.

    When thus the gather’d storms of wretched love,
    In my swoln bosom, with long war had strove,
    Laid all the civil bonds of manhood waste,
    And scatter’d ruin as the torrent past. Matthew Prior.

    There be very waste countries and wildernesses; but we find not mention whether any do inhabit there. George Abbot.

    He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness. Deut. xxxii. 10.

    Quite surcharg’d with her own weight,
    And strangl’d with her waste fertility. John Milton.

    It may be published as well as printed, that so much skill in Hebrew derivations may not lie for waste paper. Dryden.

  2. Wastenoun

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Reasons induce us to think it a good work, which they, in their care for well bestowing of time, account waste. Richard Hooker.

    Thin air is better pierced, but thick air preserveth the sound better from waste. Francis Bacon, Natural History.

    Freedom who loves, must first be wise and good;
    But from that mark how far they rove we see,
    For all this waste of wealth, and loss of blood. John Milton.

    It was providently designed to repair the waste daily made by the frequent attrition in mastication. John Ray, on the Creation.

    So foolish and lavish are we, that too often we use some words in mere waste, and have no ideas for them. Isaac Watts.

    But youth, the perishing good, runs on too fast,
    And unenjoy’d it spends itself to waste;
    Few know the use of life before ’tis past. Dryden.

    Secure the workings of your soul from running to waste, and even your looser moments will turn to happy account. Isaac Watts.

    Land that is left wholly to nature, that hath no improvement of pasturage, tillage, or planting, is called waste. John Locke.

    Lifted aloft he ’gan to mount up higher,
    And, like fresh eagle, made his hardy flight
    Thro’ all that great wide waste, yet wanting light. Edmund Spenser.

    These gentlemen, on their watch,
    In the dead waste and middle of the night,
    Had been thus encountred. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    Forty days Elijah, without food,
    Wander’d this barren waste. John Milton, Paradise Regain’d.

    Lords of the world’s great waste, the ocean, we
    Whole forests send to reign upon the sea. Edmund Waller.

    From that dire deluge, through the wat’ry waste,
    Such length of years, such various perils past. Dryden.

    Thee I pursue, oh great ill-fated youth!
    Through the dismal waste of gloomy death. Smith.

    See the man who spacious regions gave,
    A waste for beasts, himself deny’d a grave. Alexander Pope.

    All the leafy nation sinks at last,
    And Vulcan rides in triumph o’er the waste. John Dryden, Æn.

    The spirit of wantonness is sure scarce out of him: if the devil have him not in fee-simple, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again. William Shakespeare.

  3. To WASTEverb

    Etymology: awestan , Saxon; woesten, Dutch; guastare, Italian; vastare, Latin.

    The fire that mounts the liquor ’till’t run o’er,
    Seeming t’ augment it, wastes it. William Shakespeare, H. VIII.

    First vegetive, then feels, and reasons last;
    Rich of three souls, and lives all three to waste. Dryden.

    Could sighs furnish new breath, or draw life and spirits from the wasting of your’s, your friends would encourage your passion. William Temple.

    The people’s praying after the minister, they say, wasteth time. Richard Hooker.

    There must be providence used, that our ship-timber be not wasted. Francis Bacon.

    No ways and means their cabinet employ,
    But their dark hours they waste in barren joy. Samuel Garth.

    He only their provisions wastes and burns. Daniel.

    Peace to corrupt, no less than war to waste. John Milton.

    The Tyber
    Insults our walls, and wastes our fruitful grounds. Dryden.

    Now wasting years my former strength confound,
    And added woes have bow’d me to the ground;
    Yet by the stubble you may guess the grain,
    And mark the ruins of no vulgar man. William Broome.

    Here condemn’d
    To waste eternal days in woe and pain. John Milton.

    O were I able
    To waste it all myself, and leave you none. John Milton.

  4. To Wasteverb

    To dwindle; to be in a state of consumption.

    Man dieth and wasteth away. Job xiv. 10.

    Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. Is. lix. 7.

    The latter watch of wasting night,
    And setting stars to kindly sleep invite. Dryden.


  1. Waste

    Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-product, by contrast is a joint product of relatively minor economic value. A waste product may become a by-product, joint product or resource through an invention that raises a waste product's value above zero. Examples include municipal solid waste (household trash/refuse), hazardous waste, wastewater (such as sewage, which contains bodily wastes (feces and urine) and surface runoff), radioactive waste, and others.


  1. waste

    Waste refers to any material or substance that is no longer useful or desired, and is therefore discarded or disposed of, often through methods such as landfill, incineration, or recycling. It can include various types of solid, liquid, or gaseous waste generated from human activities, industrial processes, or natural processes. Waste poses potential hazards to the environment and human health if not managed properly, and therefore appropriate waste management and disposal practices are important to minimize its negative impacts.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Wasteadjective

    desolate; devastated; stripped; bare; hence, dreary; dismal; gloomy; cheerless

  2. Wasteadjective

    lying unused; unproductive; worthless; valueless; refuse; rejected; as, waste land; waste paper

  3. Wasteadjective

    lost for want of occupiers or use; superfluous

  4. Wasteadjective

    to bring to ruin; to devastate; to desolate; to destroy

  5. Wasteadjective

    to wear away by degrees; to impair gradually; to diminish by constant loss; to use up; to consume; to spend; to wear out

  6. Wasteadjective

    to spend unnecessarily or carelessly; to employ prodigally; to expend without valuable result; to apply to useless purposes; to lavish vainly; to squander; to cause to be lost; to destroy by scattering or injury

  7. Wasteadjective

    to damage, impair, or injure, as an estate, voluntarily, or by suffering the buildings, fences, etc., to go to decay

  8. Wasteverb

    to be diminished; to lose bulk, substance, strength, value, or the like, gradually; to be consumed; to dwindle; to grow less

  9. Wasteverb

    to procure or sustain a reduction of flesh; -- said of a jockey in preparation for a race, etc

  10. Waste

    the act of wasting, or the state of being wasted; a squandering; needless destruction; useless consumption or expenditure; devastation; loss without equivalent gain; gradual loss or decrease, by use, wear, or decay; as, a waste of property, time, labor, words, etc

  11. Waste

    that which is wasted or desolate; a devastated, uncultivated, or wild country; a deserted region; an unoccupied or unemployed space; a dreary void; a desert; a wilderness

  12. Waste

    that which is of no value; worthless remnants; refuse. Specifically: Remnants of cops, or other refuse resulting from the working of cotton, wool, hemp, and the like, used for wiping machinery, absorbing oil in the axle boxes of railway cars, etc

  13. Waste

    spoil, destruction, or injury, done to houses, woods, fences, lands, etc., by a tenant for life or for years, to the prejudice of the heir, or of him in reversion or remainder

  14. Waste

    old or abandoned workings, whether left as vacant space or filled with refuse

  15. Etymology: [OE. wast, OF. wast, from L. vastus, influenced by the kindred German word; cf. OHG. wuosti, G. wst, OS. wsti, D. woest, AS. wste. Cf. Vast.]


  1. Waste

    Waste is a pejorative term for unwanted materials. The term can be described as subjective and inaccurate because waste to one person is not waste to another. Litter refers to waste disposed of improperly.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Waste

    wāst, adj. empty, desert: desolate: useless, vain: stripped: lying unused: unproductive.—v.t. to lay waste or make desolate: to destroy: to wear out gradually: to squander: to diminish: to impair.—v.i. to be diminished: to dwindle: to be consumed.—n. act of wasting: useless expenditure: superfluous material, stuff left over: loss: destruction: that which is wasted or waste: uncultivated country: desert: refuse, as of coal, &c.: decay, decline: (law) natural but permanent injury to the inheritance.—ns. Wās′tage, loss by use, natural decay; Waste′-bas′ket, Waste′paper-bas′ket, a basket for holding useless scraps of paper; Waste′-book, a book in which merchants make entries of transactions in order as they occur, and for a temporary purpose.—adj. Waste′ful, full of waste: destructive: lavish: (Spens.) desolate.—adv. Waste′fully.—ns. Waste′fulness; Waste′-gate, a gate for discharging surplus water from a dam, &c.; Wās′ten (Spens.), a desert; Waste′ness (B.), devastation; Waste′-pipe, a pipe for carrying off waste or surplus water; Wās′ter, one who or that which wastes: a spendthrift: a destroyer: an article spoilt in the making.—adj. Wās′ting, devastating: enfeebling—(Wasting investments, stocks redeemable on a certain date at a fixed price, for which a premium above the redemption price is paid).—ns. Wās′ting, devastation; Wās′trel, refuse: anything neglected, a neglected child: (dial.) a profligate; Wās′try (Scot.), prodigality.—adj. improvident.—Waste lands, uncultivated and unprofitable tracts in populous and cultivated countries; Waste time, to employ time unprofitably or not at all.—Run to waste, to become incapable or useless.—Utilisation of waste products, the putting to other use of such material as is rendered either wholly or partially useless in the manufacture of articles and products—e.g. waste-silk is now a valuable raw material for a large spun-silk industry. [O. Fr. wast, gaste—L. vastus, waste; cf. A.S. wéste, Ger. wüst, desolate.]

Suggested Resources

  1. Waste

    Waste vs. Wastage -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Waste and Wastage.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. WASTE

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Waste is ranked #112568 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Waste surname appeared 156 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Waste.

    90.3% or 141 total occurrences were White.
    3.2% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'waste' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2052

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'waste' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1583

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'waste' in Nouns Frequency: #803

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'waste' in Verbs Frequency: #539

Anagrams for waste »

  1. sweat

  2. tawse

  3. awest

How to pronounce waste?

How to say waste in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of waste in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of waste in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of waste in a Sentence

  1. William Shakespeare, Richard II:

    I wasted time, now time doth waste me.

  2. William Shakespeare, As You Like It:

    I like this place, and willingly would waste my time in it.

  3. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto:

    Unsafe disposal of waste will cause further environmental damage in the long term.

  4. Olaf Scholz:

    We have no time to waste.

  5. Michelle Obama:

    They don't want me to waste my energy picking out something they don't want, so it'll just be the money.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for waste

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • المخلفاتArabic
  • odpadCzech
  • diffeithdirWelsh
  • spildDanish
  • Verschwendung, Verfall, Müll, Einöde, wüst, verschwenden, überflüssig, verwüsten, verfallen, töten, ödeGerman
  • απόβληταGreek
  • ruboEsperanto
  • pérdida, malgastar, desperdiciar, residuosSpanish
  • hukka, jäte, jätös, hukata, tuhlata, listiä, kuihtua, jätteetFinnish
  • dégénération, dégradation, gaspillage, détruire, gâcher, dévaster, gaspiller, tuer, dépérir, déchetsFrench
  • meathIrish
  • call, cosg, sgudal, ana-caitheamh, fàsScottish Gaelic
  • אבטלהHebrew
  • hulladékHungarian
  • limbahIndonesian
  • eceso, exkremento, nekultivitaIdo
  • distesa desolata, landa desolata, decadenza, rifiuto, escremento, spreco, scarto, immondizia, deserto, devastare, sperperare, sprecare, necessario, fare fuori, deperire, incolto, inutile, residuo, distruggere, indebolire, debilitare, indebolirsi, uccidere, ammazzare, superfluo, aridoItalian
  • 無駄, 無駄使い, 糞, 荒れ地, 浪費, ゴミ, 不必要, 荒れた, ふいにする, 潰す, 無駄にするJapanese
  • 배설물Korean
  • vastumLatin
  • atkritumiLatvian
  • maumau, tōtōaMāori
  • woestenij, wegkwijning, verval, vuil, verkwisting, verspilling, afval, rommel, verwoesten, verspillen, verdoen, verklungelen, wegkwijnen, verzwakken, overtollig, verkwisten, woest, vermorsen, koud maken, braakliggendDutch
  • AvfallNorwegian
  • śmieci, marnować, marnotrawstwoPolish
  • ermo, desperdício, degeneração, lixo, fezes, excremento, degradação, deserto, refugo, dejeto, desperdiçar, matar, definhar, destruir, devastarPortuguese
  • deșert, pierdere, gunoi, rest, pustietate, irosire, excrement, decădere, deșeu, sterp, distruge, devasta, irosi, pierde, pustiu, omorî, emacia, superfluu, descărna, slăbi, decădea, inutil, prisos, risipi, ucideRomanian
  • излишняя трата, растрата, грохать, тратить, кокнуть, расточать, замочить, грохнуть, укокошить, транжиритьRussian
  • smeće, otpadSerbo-Croatian
  • ödemark, spill, skräp, avfall, förfall, avföring, överflödig, föröda, förfalla, förslösa, spilla, öde, försvaga, ödelägga, förspillaSwedish
  • చెత్త, వృధా చేయుTelugu
  • harcamak, atıkTurkish
  • відходиUkrainian
  • chất thảiVietnamese
  • furler, kischirerWalloon
  • 垃圾Chinese

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"waste." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/waste>.

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    offensive or even (of persons) malicious
    A busy
    B nasty
    C dependable
    D victimised

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