v. wast·ed, wast·ing, wastes
1. To use, consume, spend, or expend thoughtlessly or carelessly.
2. To cause to lose energy, strength, or vigor; exhaust, tire, or enfeeble: Disease wasted his body.
3. To fail to take advantage of or use for profit; lose: waste an opportunity.
a. To destroy completely: The invaders wasted the village.
b. Slang To kill; murder.
1. To lose energy, strength, weight, or vigor; become weak or enfeebled: wasting away from an illness.
2. To pass without being put to use: Time is wasting.
1. The act or an instance of wasting or the condition of being wasted: a waste of talent; gone to waste.
2. A place, region, or land that is uninhabited or uncultivated; a desert or wilderness.
3. A devastated or destroyed region, town, or building; a ruin.
a. An unusable or unwanted substance or material, such as a waste product: industrial wastes.
b. Something, such as steam, that escapes without being used.
5. Garbage; trash.
6. The undigested residue of food eliminated from the body; excrement.
1. Regarded or discarded as worthless or useless: waste trimmings.
2. Used as a conveyance or container for refuse: a waste bin.
3. Excreted from the body: waste matter.
waste (one's) breath
To gain or accomplish nothing by speaking.
[Middle English wasten, from Old North French waster, from Latin vāstāre, to make empty, from vāstus, empty; see euə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: waste, blow1, dissipate, fritter1, squander
These verbs mean to spend or expend without restraint and often to no avail: wasted my inheritance; blew a fortune at the casino; dissipated their energies in pointless argument; frittering away her entire allowance; squandered his talent on writing jingles.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.