Talk:waste time

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
Green check.svg

The following information passed a request for deletion.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, though feel free to discuss its conclusions.

This is not idiomatic. DCDuring TALK 15:08, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it is. One cannot literally waste time the way one can waste water or paper. To waste a resource means to carelessly use too much, with the excess as refuse. To waste time means to spend one's alloted time idly, which is the opposite meaning. This is a special case of "waste" that is only used with "time". That's why our definition of waste currently mentions time specifically in the definition. --EncycloPetey 15:18, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't see anything unique to time in this regard. I could waste an opportunity, any singular thing, or a fixed allotment of something in the same way. (In the news: "Never waste a good crisis.") DCDuring TALK 15:45, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
But time is not a singular thing, it is a dimension for measuring spacetime. And you've missed my idling point; you cannot idly sit around wasting width. most items that are wasted are actively wasted; time wasted is the exception as it is always wasted passively. --EncycloPetey 15:50, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Other dictionaries don't distinguish much by the nature of the resource being wasted. Time is philosophically or physically or cognitively very interesting as the matrix in which we live but in terms of the semantics of wasting it is wasted just like any other of the less tangible uncountable flow variable quantities. Linguistically, if not metaphysically, time flows as many other things are said to flow. I could waste flows of opportunity, money, energy, enthusiasm, sunlight, generosity; of opportunities, dollar bills, batteries, enthusiasms, days of sunlight, donations. I could do it idly or actively. There may or may not be a tangible residue. I think our definition of "waste" seems to be excessively narrow in a way I cannot find supported in other dictionaries I have looked at. Though I haven't thought deeply about this, it is conceivable that it would pay to have distinctly worded senses or distinct usage examples for tangible vs, intangible resources, for storable vs. non-storable ones, for countable vs. uncountable, or for singular vs quantifiable resources, though I haven't noticed it in other dictionaries.
In any event, I do not see a case for the uniqueness of time in this regard: it seems like just another liquid linguistically. DCDuring TALK 03:53, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Keep as a phrasebook entry at least. DAVilla 04:08, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Delete It's not much of a phrase but a term, but a sum-of-parts term. The collocation would be valuable to English learners, but our CFI and ELE do not recognize this value.
EP writes that “To waste a resource means to carelessly use too much”, and that's just how you waste time. By idling, you can also waste my attention, their good will, the afternoon, your spouse's best years, or gasoline. Michael Z. 2009-06-18 04:57 z
Keep, it seems to be idiomatic in the sense that a child or a non-native speaker wouldn't understand it from waste +‎ time. So I think it's both SoP and idiomatic (which is not a contradiction). Mglovesfun 11:22, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
A syllogism:
  • There isn't a single phrase in Mandarin that I understand.
I am either a child or a non-native speaker.
Therefore, all phrases in Mandarin should be entered. DCDuring TALK 14:46, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
No, because Mg said "wouldn't understand it from waste + time". That is, your syllogism should go as follows:
I am either a child or a non-native speaker of Hebrew. [Switching to Hebrew on the guess that you don't know it, because I can give a sensible example in it.]
I don't understand אף על פי.
I do understand אף,‎ על, and פי.
Therefore, the phrase אף על פי should be included.
I'm not saying I agree with Mg, but that would seem more closely to approximate his statement.msh210 00:32, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Delete. I don't consider it idiomatic; Mzajac's examples sum up my viewpoint. Equinox 14:13, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Keep, it's common whether SoP, idiomatic or not. Plus the translations can be useful to native English-speakers. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 14:20, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Neither criterion (commonness, translator desire for blue-linked phrases) has any bearing. See WT:CFI. Is this idiomatic? By which of the sometimes-used criteria? DCDuring TALK 14:46, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
“It's common” is not a suitable argument, because if it's not idiomatic then it's not a common term by our criteria. Per Google Books go to school and in the house are more common, but we don't include them. There's a point where a language learner's needs move beyond a dictionary and into a language guide or lessons. Heck, we even include a phrase book, but this falls outside its scope.
We've been here before, many times. Fellow editors, please don't vote to keep something just because you want it. Just propose a change in the guidelines once, instead of conducting 100 discussions which are likely to get nowhere. Voting with your heart is not only pointless but counterproductive, if it contradicts the guidelines. Michael Z. 2009-06-20 15:08 z
Delete per DCDuring's analysis.msh210 00:36, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Delete. EncycloPetey may be correct that "waste" has a different sense in "waste time" from in "waste money", "waste effort", etc.; I'm not sure, and I think it can be validly debated. But it's obvious that it has the same sense in "waste time" as in "waste a lot of time", "waste several hours", and "no time was wasted". In other words, "waste" may well have a distinct, time-specific sense, but even if so, "waste time" itself is just an SOP use of that sense. —RuakhTALK 01:35, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Delete, based on Ruakh's comments. --EncycloPetey 04:39, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Keep. An idiomatic collocation, not because the meaning is not inferrable, but because this is the natural (un-guessable) way to express the idea in English. It is hard to translate; in French one usually "loses" time. Ƿidsiþ 16:19, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't get it. Did you see my comment? If you want to create a special sense for waste when its object is some form of time, I have no objection; but I don't see how waste time itself is unguessable, once you know that waste is used this way. (Put another way: if I come across the phrase “wasted hours”, how the heck am I supposed to know to look up “waste time”? I should be able to look up “waste” and see the relevant sense.) —RuakhTALK 17:07, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I saw it, and I agree with everything you say except the conclusion. Waste definitely has a specific sense in temporal constructions, but I don't see that as a reason to deletion the verb phrase under discussion. It may allow you to construe it as ‘sum-of-parts’, but this is still the kind of very common construction that I think users are entitled to be able to look up in its own right. Ƿidsiþ 20:50, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that we need to modify WT:CFI to reflect some kind user-oriented considerations or frequency considerations? DCDuring TALK 21:19, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I couldn't care less about CFI. I have never looked at them. I know what I think I ought to be able to look up, and I always try to explain why. (In actual fact I think most people simply decide what they think and then search the letter of CFI to find a call to authority to support their view.) Ƿidsiþ 12:36, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Comment. Does "to waste time" mean any of to loaf, idle, dawdle, doss, slack or lollygag? If so, then I see two senses, yet I don't know how much sum-of-parts they are: (a) to loaf; to idle; to avoid productive activity; to wander about; to spend time chatting instead of working, and (b) to attempt a course of action that cannot achieve its purported aim; to labor in vain, or even specifically, to discuss in vain, to bring irrelevant points to a discussion. A third one could be construed: (c) to take away time and attention from another person. I may be quite mistaken; I think I have seen the term used in what seemed to be the sense (b), and surely in (c). --Dan Polansky 18:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I would say that "loafing", "idling", etc can be ways of "wasting one's own time", as can strenuous but unrewarding activity. "Wasting someone else's time" can also be done in many ways. I suppose that saying "To do X is to 'waste time'" often enough can lead to 'waste time' coming to assume a sense of 'do X'. DCDuring TALK 19:24, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Looking at both the votes and the discussion, kept as a no consensus. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:35, 30 September 2009 (UTC)