See also: wasté



Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English waste (a waste, noun), from Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French wast, waste (a waste), from Frankish *wōstī (a waste), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁weh₂- (empty, wasted).


waste (countable and uncountable, plural wastes)

  1. Excess of material, useless by-products or damaged, unsaleable products; garbage; rubbish.
  2. Excrement or urine.
    The cage was littered with animal waste
  3. A wasteland; an uninhabited desolate region; a wilderness or desert.
    • 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped
      We went down accordingly into the waste, and began to make our toilsome and devious travel towards the eastern verge.
  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"
  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 termsEdit
terms derived from waste (noun)
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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English waste (waste, adjective), from Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French wast (waste), from Frankish *wōstī (waste, empty), from Proto-Indo-European *wāsto- (empty, wasted). Cognate with Old High German wuosti, wuasti (waste, empty), German wüst, 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, “xvij”, in Le Morte Darthur, book XIII (in Middle English):
      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
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
  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.
  6. Unfortunate; disappointing. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
Usage notesEdit

Same meanings as wasted.

Derived termsEdit
terms derived from waste (adjective)

Etymology 3Edit

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 Frankish *wōstijan (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, destroy
  2. (transitive) To squander (money or resources) uselessly; to spend (time) idly.
    • 1751, Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
      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?
    • 1909, Francis Galton, Memories of my life, page 69
      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. .
    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 deteriorate; to diminish by constant loss; to use up; to consume; to spend; to wear out.
  5. (intransitive) Gradually lose weight, weaken, become frail.
  6. (intransitive) To be diminished; to lose bulk, substance, strength, value etc. gradually.
  7. (law) To damage, impair, or injure (an estate, etc.) voluntarily, or by allowing the buildings, fences, etc., to fall into decay.
Derived termsEdit
Terms derived from waste (verb)
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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See alsoEdit






  1. singular past indicative and subjunctive of wassen

Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


Borrowed from Anglo-Norman wast.



waste (plural wastes)

  1. waste


  • English: waste
  • Yola: wauste


Tocharian BEdit


(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


waste ?

  1. refuge, sanctuary

West FlemishEdit


waste f

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