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See also: wasté



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English waste(a waste, noun), from Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French wast, waste(a waste), from Old Frankish *wōsti(a waste) and *wōstin, *wōstinna(a waste, wasteland, desert), from Proto-Germanic *wōstī(a waste), *wōstinjō(a waste, wasteland), from Proto-Indo-European *weh₂st-(empty, wasted). Cognate with Old High German wuosti, wuasti ("a waste"; > Modern German Wüste), Old High German wuostinna(a desert, waste), Old English wēsten(a waste, wasteland). Non Germanic cognates include Latin vastus(waste, desert) and Albanian vjeshtë(autumn).


waste (countable and uncountable, plural wastes)

  1. Excess of material, useless by-products or damaged, unsaleable products; garbage; rubbish.
  2. Excrement or urine.
  3. A waste land; an uninhabited desolate region; a wilderness or desert.
  4. A place that has been laid waste or destroyed.
  5. A large tract of uncultivated land.
  6. (historical) The part of the land of a manor (of whatever size) not used for cultivation or grazing, nowadays treated as common land.
  7. A vast expanse of water.
  8. A disused mine or part of one.
  9. The action or progress of wasting; extravagant consumption or ineffectual use.
    That was a waste of time
    Her life seemed a waste
  10. Large abundance of something, specifically without it being used.
  11. Gradual loss or decay.
  12. A decaying of the body by disease; wasting away.
  13. (rare) Destruction or devastation caused by war or natural disasters; See "to lay waste"
    The cage was littered with animal waste
  14. (law) A cause of action which may be brought by the owner of a future interest in property against the current owner of that property to prevent the current owner from degrading the value or character of the property, either intentionally or through neglect.
  15. (geology) Material derived by mechanical and chemical erosion from the land, carried by streams to the sea.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English waste(waste, adjective), from Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French wast(waste), from Old Frankish *wuasti, *wuosti(waste, empty), from Proto-Germanic *wōstijaz(wasted, abandoned, empty), from Proto-Indo-European *wāsto-(empty, wasted). Cognate with Old High German wuosti, wuasti(waste, empty), Old Saxon wōsti(desolate), Old English wēste(waste, barren, desolate, empty).


waste (comparative more waste, superlative most waste)

  1. (now rare) Uncultivated, uninhabited.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xvij, in Le Morte Darthur, book XIII:
      SOo whanne syr Galahad was departed from the castel of maydens / he rode tyl he came to a waste forest / & there he mette with syre launcelot and syr Percyuale but they knewe hym not / for he was newe desguysed / Ryghte so syr launcelot his fader dressid his spere and brake it vpon syr Galahad
  2. Barren; desert.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, page 255:
      For centuries the shrine at Mecca had been of merely local importance, far outshone by the Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem, whose cult Christians had in good measure renewed by their pilgrimage in honour of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, while leaving the actual site of the Jerusalem Temple dishonoured and waste.
  3. Rejected as being defective; eliminated as being worthless; produced in excess.
    • 2013 September-October, Katie L. Burke, “In the News”, in American Scientist:
      Oxygen levels on Earth skyrocketed 2.4 billion years ago, when cyanobacteria evolved photosynthesis: the ability to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and waste oxygen using solar energy.
  4. Superfluous; needless.
  5. Dismal; gloomy; cheerless.
    • Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
      His heart became appalled as he gazed forward into the waste darkness of futurity.
  6. Unfortunate; disappointing. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
Usage notes[edit]

Same meanings as wasted.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English wasten(to waste, lay waste), from Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French waster(to waste, devastate) (compare also the variant gaster and French gâter from a related Old French word); the Anglo-Norman form waster was either from Old Frankish *wuastan, *wuostan, *wuostjan(to lay waste, devastate), from Proto-Germanic *wōstijaną(to waste), from Proto-Indo-European *wāsto-(empty, wasted), or alternatively from Latin vastāre, present active infinitive of vastō and influenced by the Frankish; the English word was assisted by similarity to native Middle English westen ("to waste"; > English weest). Cognate with Old High German wuostan, wuastan, wuostjan(to waste) (Modern German wüsten), Old English wēstan(to lay waste, ravage).


waste (third-person singular simple present wastes, present participle wasting, simple past and past participle wasted)

  1. (transitive) To devastate or destroy.
    • Spenser
      Thou barren ground, whom winter's wrath hath wasted, / Art made a mirror to behold my plight.
    • Dryden
      The Tiber / Insults our walls, and wastes our fruitful grounds.
  2. (transitive) To squander (money or resources) uselessly; to spend (time) idly.
    • Gray
      Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, / And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
    • 2013 June 1, “Ideas coming down the track”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 13 (Technology Quarterly):
      A “moving platform” scheme [] is more technologically ambitious than maglev trains even though it relies on conventional rails. [] This set-up solves several problems […]. Stopping high-speed trains wastes energy and time, so why not simply slow them down enough for a moving platform to pull alongside?
    E. Kay (1822-1897), afterwards Lord Justice of Appeal, had rooms on the same staircase as myself, and we wasted a great deal of time together, both in term and in my second summer vacation. 1909. Francis Galton, Memories of my life, page 69.
    We wasted millions of dollars and several years on that project.
  3. (transitive, slang) To kill; to murder.
  4. (transitive) To wear away by degrees; to impair gradually; to diminish by constant loss; to use up; to consume; to spend; to wear out.
    • Bible, Numbers xiv. 33
      until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness
    • Robertson
      Wasted by such a course of life, the infirmities of age daily grew on him.
  5. (intransitive) Gradually lose weight, weaken, become frail.
  6. (intransitive) To be diminished; to lose bulk, substance, strength, value etc. gradually.
    • Bible, 1 Kings xvii. 14
      The barrel of meal shall not waste.
  7. (law) To damage, impair, or injure (an estate, etc.) voluntarily, or by allowing the buildings, fences, etc., to fall into decay.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]






  1. singular past indicative and subjunctive of wassen

West Flemish[edit]


waste f

  1. laundry, clothes that need to be washed, or just have been washed.