waste Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “waste” in the English Dictionary

"waste" in British English

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wastenoun

uk   /weɪst/  us   /weɪst/
  • waste noun (BAD USE)

B1 [S or U] an ​unnecessary or ​wrong use of ​money, ​substances, ​time, ​energy, ​abilities, etc.: That ​meetingachievedabsolutely nothing - it was acomplete waste of ​time. She's been ​unemployed for two ​years and it's such a waste of her ​talents. My ​mother couldn't ​stand waste - she always made us ​eat everything on ​ourplates.
go to waste
to not be used, ​eaten, etc.: You can ​even make ​stock from the ​bones, so that nothing goes to waste.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • waste noun (UNWANTED MATTER)

B1 [C or U] unwantedmatter or ​material of any ​type, ​especially what is ​left after ​usefulsubstances or ​parts have been ​removed: This ​cityproduces 20 million ​tons of ​household waste each ​year. He ​opposes any ​kind of ​nuclear waste being ​dumped at ​sea. Millions of ​gallons of ​untreatedhuman waste (= ​excrement)flow into the ​river every ​day. Oil ​spills are ​common, as is the ​dumping of ​toxicindustrial wastes. The ​Japaneserecycle more than ​half of ​their waste paper.

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  • waste noun (EMPTY GROUND)

waste ground mainly UK
an ​area of ​ground in or near a ​city that is not ​built on or used in any way: His ​body had been ​dumped in an ​area of waste ​ground just ​outside the ​city.
See also
wastes [plural]
largeareas of ​land that are not used to ​growcrops and have few ​livinganimals or ​plants: the ​Arctic wastes of ​northern Siberia

wasteverb [T]

uk   /weɪst/  us   /weɪst/
  • waste verb [T] (USE BADLY)

B1 to use too much of something or use something ​badly when there is a ​limitedamount of it: You waste a lot of ​water by taking a ​bathinstead of a ​shower. Come on, let's get ​started - we've wasted enough time already. Don't waste ​your money on such ​junk.

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  • waste verb [T] (KILL)

US slang to ​kill someone
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of waste from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"waste" in American English

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wastenoun

 us   /weɪst/
  • waste noun (BAD USE)

[U] a ​bad use of something ​valuable that you have only a ​limitedamount of: a waste of ​time/​money a waste of ​talent/​ability I ​felt like being there was just a waste.
  • waste noun (UNWANTED MATTER)

unwantedmatter or ​material of any ​type, esp. what is ​left after use: [C] hazardous/​toxic wastes [U] Most ​people don’t ​recyclekitchen waste.
biology Human waste is ​excrement.
Waste ​disposal is the ​process or ​system for getting ​rid of ​unwantedmaterial by ​burying it, ​burning it, or ​dropping it in the ​sea.

wasteverb [T]

 us   /weɪst/
  • waste verb [T] (BAD USE)

to use something without ​care or ​thought: Why should I waste my ​time on her? You’re just ​wastingyourmoneybuying that ​stuff.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of waste from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"waste" in Business English

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wastenoun

uk   us   /weɪst/
[S or U] an unnecessary or careless use of ​resources or ​skills: a waste of money/resources/time The ​meeting was a complete waste of ​time. All ​departments have been ​instructed to ​avoid waste.
[U] materials or substances with no use or ​value, for ​example, ones that are ​produced when other ​products are being made: the disposal of wastehazardous/radioactive/toxic waste The ​company was ​charged with ​illegally disposing of ​toxic waste. household/​industrial waste

wasteadjective [before noun]

uk   us   /weɪst/
left after what is ​valuable has been used, and no ​longer needed: the ​collection and ​recycling of waste ​materials

wasteverb [T]

uk   us   /weɪst/
to use more ​money, ​time, ​resources, etc. than is needed: The ​board decided it could not waste any more time and moneydeveloping the ​product.
to not use something in an ​effective way: waste a chance/effort/opportunity Oftel had the chance to ​createrealcompetition to BT but it has wasted the ​opportunity. wasted ​skills/​talent
waste no time in doing sth
to do something immediately: The ​board wasted no ​time in ​appointing a ​successor.
(Definition of waste from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“waste” in Business English

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