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 meeting achieved absolutely nothing - it was a complete 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 our plates.
go to waste
to not be used, eaten, etc.: You can even make stock from the bones, so that nothing goes to waste.

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  • waste noun (UNWANTED MATTER)

B1 [C or U] unwanted matter or material of any type, especially what is left after useful substances or parts have been removed: This city produces 20 million tons of household waste each year. He opposes any kind of nuclear waste being dumped at sea. Millions of gallons of untreated human waste (= excrement) flow into the river every day. Oil spills are common, as is the dumping of toxic industrial wastes. The Japanese recycle 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]
large areas of land that are not used to grow crops and have few living animals 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 limited amount of it: You waste a lot of water by taking a bath instead 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 limited amount of: a waste of time/money a waste of talent/ability I felt like being there was just a waste.
  • waste noun (UNWANTED MATTER)

unwanted matter or material of any type, esp. what is left after use: [C] hazardous/toxic wastes [U] Most people don’t recycle kitchen waste.
biology Human waste is excrement.
Waste disposal is the process or system for getting rid of unwanted material 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 wasting your money buying 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 money developing the product.
to not use something in an effective way: waste a chance/effort/opportunity Oftel had the chance to create real competition 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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