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waste [verb] (USE BADLY)

to use too much of something or use something badly when there is a limited amount of it

US /weɪst/ 
UK /weɪst/ 

You waste a lot of water by having a bath instead of a shower.

Oxford Essential Dictionary

verb (wastes, wasting, wasted)
to use too much of something or not use something in a good way:
She wastes a lot of money on sweets.
He wasted his time at university – he didn't do any work.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

II. waste2 S2 W3 BrE AmE verb [transitive]
[Word Family: noun: ↑wastage, ↑waste, ↑wastefulness, ↑waster, ↑wastrel; adjective: ↑waste, ↑wasteful, ↑wasted, ↑wasting; verb: ↑waste; adverb: ↑wastefully]
[Date: 1200-1300; Language: Old North French; Origin: waster, from Latin vastare; ⇨ ↑devastate]
1. NOT USE SENSIBLY to use more money, time, energy etc than is useful or sensible:
Leaving the heating on all the time wastes electricity.
waste something on somebody/something
Don’t waste your money on that junk!
2. NOT USE FULLY [usually passive] to not make full use of someone or something:
Hannah’s wasted in that clerical job.
His talents were being wasted as a lawyer.
3. be wasted on somebody if something is wasted on someone, they do not understand how good or useful it is:
Her good advice was wasted on the children.
4. waste your breath spoken to say something that has no effect:
Don’t try to reason with Paul – you’re wasting your breath.
5. waste no time (in) doing something to do something as quickly as you can because it will help you:
He wasted no time in introducing himself.
6. waste not, want not spoken used to say that if you use what you have carefully, you will still have some of it if you need it later
7. HARM SOMEBODY American English informal to kill someone, severely injure them, or defeat them
waste away phrasal verb
to gradually become thinner and weaker, usually because you are ill

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


waste [waste wastes wasted wasting] verb, noun, adjective   [weɪst]    [weɪst]


1. to use more of sth than is necessary or useful
~ sth to waste time/food/energy
~ sth on sth Why waste money on clothes you don't need?
We got straight down to business without wasting time on small talk.
~ sth (in) doing sth She wasted no time in rejecting the offer (= she rejected it immediately).

• You're wasting your time trying to explain it to him (= because he will not understand).

2. ~ sth (on sb/sth) to give, say, use, etc. sth good where it is not valued or used in the way that it should be
• Don't waste your sympathy on him— he got what he deserved.

• Her comments were not wasted on Chris (= he understood what she meant).

3. usually passive to not make good or full use of sb/sth
~ sb/sth It was a wasted opportunity.
• His talents are wasted in that job.

~ sb/sth as sth You're wasted as a sales manager— you should have been an actor.  


4. ~ sb (informal, especially NAmE) to get rid of sb, usually by killing them  

5. ~ sb (NAmE, informal) to defeat sb very badly in a game or competition
Word Origin:
Middle English: from Old Northern French wast(e) (noun), waster (verb), based on Latin vastus ‘unoccupied, uncultivated’.  
Example Bank:
Don't waste your money on a hotel room.
He didn't want to waste valuable time in idle gossip.
Hurry up— there's no time to waste!
I'm not going to waste any more time on the problem.
In the end her efforts were not entirely wasted.
Their father hated to waste energy.
You're just wasting your breath. She never listens.
Don't waste your sympathy on her— she got what she deserved.
Her comments were not wasted on Chris.
She wasted no time in rejecting the offer.
The health authority wasted millions of pounds on a computer system that never worked.
Why waste money on clothes you don't need?
You're wasted as a sales manager— you should have been an actor.
You're wasting your time trying to explain it to him.
Idioms: lay something waste  lay waste something  waste not, want not  waste of space  waste your breath

Derived: waste away 

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition

waste / weɪst / verb [ T ] (USE BADLY)

B1 to use too much of something or use something badly when there is a limited amount of it:

You waste a lot of water by having a bath instead of a shower.

Come on, let's get started - we've wasted enough time already.

Don't waste your money on me, love, keep it for yourself.

waste / weɪst / verb [ T ] US slang (KILL)

to kill someone

Collins Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary


 wastes, wasting, wasted

 1) VERB If you waste something such as time, money, or energy, you use too much of it doing something that is not important or necessary, or is unlikely to succeed.
  [V n -ing] There could be many reasons and he was not going to waste time speculating on them...
  [V n on n] I resolved not to waste money on a hotel...
  [V n] The system wastes a large amount of water.
 N-SING: a N of n
 Waste is also a noun. It is a waste of time going to the doctor with most mild complaints... I think that is a total waste of money.
 2) N-UNCOUNT Waste is the use of money or other resources on things that do not need it.
  The packets are measured to reduce waste...
  I hate waste. Two weeks was reasonable, but this is far too much.
 3) N-UNCOUNT: also N in pl Waste is material which has been used and is no longer wanted, for example because the valuable or useful part of it has been taken out.
  Congress passed a law that regulates the disposal of waste...
  Up to 10 million tonnes of toxic wastes are produced every year in the UK.
  ...the process of eliminating body waste.
 4) VERB If you waste an opportunity for something, you do not take advantage of it when it is available.
  [V n] Let's not waste an opportunity to see the children...
  [V-ed] It was a wasted opportunity.
 5) VERB: usu passive If you say that something is wasted on someone, you mean that there is no point giving it or telling it to them as they will not appreciate, understand, or pay any attention to it.
  [be V-ed on n] All the well-meant, sincere advice is largely wasted on him.
  be lost on
 6) ADJ: usu ADJ n Waste land is land, especially in or near a city, which is not used or looked after by anyone, and so is covered by wild plants and rubbish.
  There was a patch of waste land behind the church...
  Yarrow can be found growing wild in fields and on waste ground.
 7) N-PLURAL: adj N, N of n Wastes are a large area of land, for example a desert, in which there are very few people, plants, or animals.
  ...the barren wastes of the Sahara.
 8) → See also wasted
 9) PHRASE: V inflects If something goes to waste, it remains unused or has to be thrown away.
  So much of his enormous effort and talent will go to waste if we are forced to drop one hour of the film...
  Mexican cookery is economical, she says. Nothing goes to waste.
  be wasted
 10) PHRASE: V inflects, PHR n If something or someone lays waste an area or town or lays waste to it, they completely destroy it.
  The war has laid waste large regions of the countryside.
  ...cities laid waste by the decline of traditional industries...
  The aphid is now laying waste to the wheat and barley fields.
 11) PHRASE The expression waste not, want not means that if you do not use too much of something now you will have some left later when you need it.
  ...a nation that prides itself on its `waste not, want not' thrift and its environmental conscience.
 12) to waste your breathsee breath
 to waste no timesee time
  Phrasal Verbs:
  - waste away

Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary

2waste verb wastes; wast·ed; wast·ing [+ obj]
1 : to use (something valuable) in a way that is not necessary or effective : to use more of (something) than is necessary
• Don't waste water during the summer drought.
• He always wasted his money on useless gadgets.
• Turn off the lights so we don't waste electricity.
• I think he's just wasting my time.
• We can't afford to waste so much food.
2 : to use (something or someone) in a way that does not produce a valuable result or effect : to fail to use (something or someone) in an appropriate or effective way
• We can't afford to waste this opportunity.
• She's a good writer but she's wasting her talent. [=she's not using her talent to do the things that she should be doing]
- often used as (be) wasted
• My efforts were wasted.
• He was wasted in that job. [=his talents/skills were not being used in the job]
3 slang : to kill or murder (someone)
• Someone wasted him.
waste away [phrasal verb] : to become thinner and weaker because of illness or lack of food
• The disease caused her to waste away.
waste no time : to do something quickly
• We wasted no time getting our tickets. [=we hurried to get our tickets]
waste not, want not
- used to say that if you never waste things you will always have what you need;
waste your breath
- see breath

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