AskDefine | Define waste

Dictionary Definition

waste adj
1 disposed of as useless; "waste paper" [syn: cast-off(a), discarded, junked, scrap(a)]
2 located in a dismal or remote area; desolate; "a desert island"; "a godforsaken wilderness crossroads"; "a wild stretch of land"; "waste places" [syn: desert, godforsaken, wild]


1 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" [syn: waste material, waste matter, waste product]
2 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" [syn: wastefulness, dissipation]
3 the trait of wasting resources; "a life characterized by thriftlessness and waste"; "the wastefulness of missed opportunities" [syn: thriftlessness, wastefulness]
4 an uninhabited wilderness that is worthless for cultivation; "the barrens of central Africa"; "the trackless wastes of the desert" [syn: barren, wasteland]
5 (law) reduction in the value of an estate caused by act or neglect [syn: permissive waste]


1 spend thoughtlessly; throw away; "He wasted his inheritance on his insincere friends"; "You squandered the opportunity to get and advanced degree" [syn: blow, squander] [ant: conserve]
2 use inefficiently or inappropriately; "waste heat"; "waste a joke on an unappreciative audience"
3 get rid of; "We waste the dirty water by channeling it into the sewer"
4 run off as waste; "The water wastes back into the ocean" [syn: run off]
5 get rid of (someone who may be a threat) by killing; "The mafia liquidated the informer"; "the double agent was neutralized" [syn: neutralize, neutralise, liquidate, knock off, do in]
6 spend extravagantly; "waste not, want not" [syn: consume, squander, ware]
7 lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief; "After her husband died, she just pined away" [syn: pine away, languish]
8 cause to grow thin or weak; "The treatment emaciated him" [syn: emaciate, macerate]
9 devastate or ravage; "The enemy lay waste to the countryside after the invasion" [syn: lay waste to, devastate, desolate, ravage, scourge]
10 waste away; "Political prisoners are wasting away in many prisons all over the world" [syn: rot]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Old North French wast(e) < Latin vastum




  1. A waste land; an unhabited desolate region; a wilderness.
  2. A place that has been laid waste or destroyed.
  3. A large tract of uncultivated land.
  4. A vaste expanse of water.
  5. A disused mine or part of one.
  6. The action or progress of wasting; extravagant consumption or ineffectual use.
    That was a waste of time
    Her life seemed a waste
  7. Large abundance of something, especially without it being used.
  8. Gradual loss or decay.
  9. A decaying of the body by disease; wasting away.
  10. Destruction or devastation caused by war or natural disasters; See "to lay waste"
  11. Excess of material, useless by-products or damaged, unsaleable products; garbage; rubbish.
  12. excrement (animal waste, human waste).


desolate place
loss, ineffective use
useless products, garbage
  • Japanese: (fun)
Translations to be checked

Derived terms



Usage notes

Same meanings as wasted.


superfluous; needless


  1. Devastate or destroy.
  2. Use up, diminish, reduce by gradual loss; decay; emaciate.
    After he lost hope, he wasted away.
  3. Squander money or resources uselessly; spend time idly.
    We wasted millions of dollars and several years on that project.
  4. In the context of "transitive|slang}} Kill; murder.

Extensive Definition

Waste, is an unwanted or undesired material or substance. It is also referred to as rubbish, trash, garbage, or junk depending upon the type of material and the regional terminology. In living organisms, waste relates to unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from them.
Waste management is the human control of the collection, treatment and disposal of different wastes. This is in order to reduce the negative impacts waste has on environment and society.
Waste is directly linked to the human development, both technologically and socially. The composition of different wastes have varied over time and location. With industrial development and innovation being directly linked to waste materials. Examples of this include plastics and nuclear technology. Some components of waste have economical value and can be recycled once correctly recovered.
Biodegradable waste such as food waste or sewage, is broken down naturally by microorganisms either aerobically or anaerobically. If the disposal of biodegradable waste is not controlled it can cause a number of wider problems including contributing to the release of greenhouse gases and can impact upon human health via encouragement of pathogens.
It is difficult to define specifically what a waste is. Items that some people discard have value to others. It is widely recognised that waste materials are a valuable resource, whilst there is debate as to how this value is best realised. Governments need to define what waste is in order that it can be safely and legally managed. Different definitions need to be combined in order to ensure the safe and legal disposal of the waste.

Environmental impact

Many different types of waste have negative impacts upon the wider environment.
Waste pollution is considered a serious threat by many and can broadly be defined as any pollution associated with waste and waste management practices. Typical materials that are found in household waste which have specific environmental impacts with them include biodegradable wastes, batteries, aerosols, oils, acids and fluorescent tubes.
As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world with 4.5 pounds of municipal solid waste (MSW) per person per day, 55 percent of which is contributed as residential garbage. The remaining 45 percent of waste in the U.S.'s ‘waste stream' comes from manufacturing, retailing, and commercial trade in the U.S. economy .
Biodegradable waste is of specific concern as breaks down in landfills to form methane, a potent greenhouse gas. If this gas is not prevented from entering the atmosphere, by implication, it contributes to climate change.
Littering can be considered the most visible form of solid waste pollution. The act of littering for the most part constitutes disposing of waste inappropriately, typically in public places. Littering itself may or may not be an intentional action.
Other forms of pollution associated with waste materials include illegal dumping and leaching. Illegal dumping of flytipping often involves unregulated disposal of materials on private or public land. Remoted sites with road access coupled with limited surveillance often provides the perfect opportunity for this form of dumping which often goes unpunished and leaves others (such as the community or developer) to properly dispose of the waste.
Leaching is a process by which contaminants from solid waste enter soil and often ground water systems contaminating them.


The European Union defines waste as an object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard is waste under the Waste Framework Directive (European Directive 75/442/EC as amended). Once a substance or object has become waste, it will remain waste until it has been fully recovered and no longer poses a potential threat to the environment or to human health."'
The UK's Environmental Protection Act 1990 indicated waste includes any substance which constitutes a scrap material, an effluent or other unwanted surplus arising from the application of any process or any substance or article which requires to be disposed of which has been broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled; this is supplemented with anything which is discarded otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste unless the contrary is proved. This definition was amended by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 defining waste as:
"any substance or object which the producer or the person in possession of it, discards or intends or is required to discard but with exception of anything excluded from the scope of the Waste Directive".


There is a cultural dimension to waste. Wasting time, money, or food involves moral judgements that carry a great deal of weight in human interaction. Attitudes to this wastage differ between different societies.
For example, food may be wasted in one part of the world while there may be famine elsewhere. Chefs from a particular culinary tradition may prize cuts of meat that chefs in other traditions will dispose of. A parent may regard a child's career in a rock band as a waste of their education, though this opinion may not necessarily be shared by the child. The frivolous expenditure of money may be described as "wasting money" independently of the economic underpinning of the transactions concerned.
waste in Arabic: قمامة
waste in Guarani: Yty
waste in Aymara: T'una
waste in Bulgarian: Боклук
waste in Czech: Odpad
waste in Welsh: Sbwriel
waste in Danish: Affald
waste in German: Abfall
waste in Spanish: Basura
waste in Esperanto: Rubo
waste in Persian: زباله
waste in French: Déchet
waste in Galician: Lixo
waste in Korean: 쓰레기
waste in Croatian: Otpad
waste in Indonesian: Sampah
waste in Italian: Rifiuti
waste in Hebrew: פסולת
waste in Lombard: Rumenta
waste in Hungarian: Hulladék
waste in Dutch: Afval (vuilnis)
waste in Japanese: 廃棄物
waste in Norwegian: Avfall
waste in Norwegian Nynorsk: Søppel
waste in Polish: Odpady
waste in Portuguese: Resíduo
waste in Quechua: Q'upa
waste in Russian: Мусор
waste in Simple English: Waste
waste in Slovak: Odpad
waste in Slovenian: Odpadek
waste in Serbian: Отпад
waste in Serbo-Croatian: Otpad
waste in Finnish: Roska
waste in Swedish: Avfall
waste in Thai: ขยะมูลฝอย
waste in Turkish: Çöp
waste in Ukrainian: Відходи
waste in Venetian: Scoazse
waste in Yiddish: מיסט
waste in Contenese: 垃圾
waste in Chinese: 垃圾

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Arabia Deserta, Death Valley, Sahara, abate, ablate, ablation, absorption, acarpous, afterglow, afterimage, arid, assimilation, atrophy, attenuate, attrition, back, back of beyond, back-country, backwood, backwoods, backwoodsy, balance, barren, barren land, barrens, bate, be consumed, be eaten away, be gone, be used up, blast, bloodbath, blot out, blow, blue ruin, blunder away, bones, breakup, bring to ruin, brush, bump off, burning up, bush, butt, butt end, candle ends, carnage, carpe diem, cast away, cease, cease to be, cease to exist, celibate, chaff, childless, condemn, confound, conspicuous consumption, consume, consume away, consumption, corrode, corrosion, croak, crumble, culm, damn, damnation, deadwood, deal destruction, debris, decimate, decimation, decline, decrease, decrement, dejecta, dejection, dejecture, deliquesce, deliquescence, dematerialize, depart, deplete, depletion, depreciate, depreciation, depredate, depredation, desecrate, desert, desolate, desolation, despoil, despoilment, despoliation, destroy, destruction, detritus, devastate, devastation, devour, die, die away, die out, digestion, diminish, disappear, discharge, dishwater, disintegration, disorganization, dispel, disperse, disruption, dissipate, dissipation, dissolution, dissolve, dive, do a fade-out, do in, draff, drain, drained, dregs, dribble away, dried-up, drivel, droop, drop, drop off, dry, dry up, dust, dust bowl, dwindle, eating up, ebb, effluent, egesta, ejecta, ejectamenta, ejection, emacerate, emaciate, emaciation, end, engorge, erase, erode, erosion, evanesce, evaporate, evaporation, excrement, excreta, excretes, exhaust, exhausted, exhaustion, exit, expend, expending, expenditure, extravagance, extravagancy, extravasate, extravasation, exudate, exudation, fade, fade away, fade out, fag end, fail, fall, fall away, fall off, fallow, filings, finishing, fix, flag, flee, fly, fool away, fossil, fritter, frivol, fruitless, garbage, gash, gaunt, gelded, get, give out, give the business, go, go away, gobble, gobble up, gun down, gut, gut with fire, havoc, heath, hecatomb, hide, hinterland, hit, hogwash, holdover, holocaust, howling wilderness, husks, ice, impotent, impoverishment, incinerate, incontinence, ineffectual, infecund, infertile, ingestion, intemperance, issueless, jejune, jungle, junk, karroo, kelter, languish, lavishness, lay in ruins, lay out, lay waste, leached, leakage, leaking purse, leave no trace, leave the scene, leavings, lees, leftovers, lessen, let up, litter, loose purse strings, lose, lose strength, loss, lunar landscape, lunar waste, macerate, marcescence, melt, melt away, menopausal, nonfertile, nonproducing, nonproductive, nonprolific, odds and ends, off, offal, offscourings, orts, outback, overdoing, overgenerosity, overgenerousness, overliberality, parch, parings, pass, pass away, pass out, peak, perdition, perish, peter out, pillage, pine, pine away, plummet, plunge, polish off, potsherds, pound-foolishness, preshrink, prodigality, profligacy, profuseness, profusion, rags, raspings, ravage, reckless expenditure, reckless spending, refuse, relics, remainder, remains, remnant, residue, residuum, rest, retire from sight, roach, rub out, rubbish, rubble, ruin, ruinate, ruination, ruins, rummage, rump, run down, run dry, run low, run out, run to seed, run to waste, sack, sag, salt flat, sawdust, scourings, scrap iron, scraps, scum, sear, settle, shadow, shambles, shards, shavings, shipwreck, shrink, shrinkage, shrivel, sine prole, sink, slack, slag, slaughter, slop, slops, spend, spending, spill, spoliate, spoliation, squander, squandering, squandermania, sterile, straw, stubble, stump, subside, sucked dry, suffer an eclipse, survival, swallow up, sweepings, swill, sylvan, tail off, take care of, tares, teemless, thin, throw into disorder, trace, transudate, transudation, trash, uncultivated, undoing, unfertile, unfruitful, unleash destruction, unleash the hurricane, unplowed, unproductive, unprolific, unsown, untilled, up-country, upheave, use up, using, using up, vandalism, vandalize, vanish, vanish from sight, vaporize, vestige, virgin, wane, wastage, waste away, waste matter, wasted, wastefulness, wasteland, wastepaper, wasting away, weaken, wear, wear and tear, wear away, wearing, wearing away, wearing down, weary waste, weazen, weeds, wild, wilderness, wildness, wilds, wilt, wilting, wipe out, wither, wither away, withering, without issue, wizen, woodland, wrack, wrack and ruin, wreak havoc, wreck, zap
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