Open main menu




  This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.

Compare Danish skvætte (rare)/skvatte (to splash) (nominalised: skvæt), Icelandic skvetta (to squirt), Swedish skvätta (to splash), Norwegian Bokmål skvette.[1]



squander (third-person singular simple present squanders, present participle squandering, simple past and past participle squandered)

  1. To waste, lavish, splurge; to spend lavishly or profusely; to dissipate.
    • 1746, Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac[2]
      Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.
    • George Best (1946-2005)
      I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.[3]
    • 2011 September 24, David Ornstein, “Arsenal 3 - 0 Bolton”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      As the game opened up, Bolton squandered a fine opportunity to equalise - Chris Eagles shooting straight at Szczesny - but then back came Arsenal.
  2. (obsolete) To scatter; to disperse.
    • John Dryden
      Our squandered troops he rallies.
  3. (obsolete) To wander at random; to scatter.
    • William Shakespeare
      The wise man's folly is anatomized / Even by squandering glances of the fool.

Usage notesEdit

Squander implies starting with many resources, such as great wealth, and then wasting them (using them up to little purpose or little effect), often ending with little. Particularly used in phrases such as “squander an opportunity” or “squander an inheritance”. It may be used even if one starts with little, though usually in some construction such as “squander what little he had”.