1 /weIst/ noun
1 BAD USE (singular, uncountable) things such as money or skills that should be used and are not, or that are not used effectively: waste in government departments
(+ of): Being unemployed is such a waste of your talents.
2 be a waste of time/money/effort etc to be not worth the time, money etc that you use because there is little or no result: We should never have gone - it was a total waste of time.
3 go to waste to be wasted: Don't let all this food go to waste.
4 UNWANTED MATERIALS (U) unwanted materials or substances that are left after you have used something: It's a good idea to recycle household waste. | industrial/chemical etc waste: Industrial waste has found its way into the water supply.
5 a waste of space spoken someone who has no good qualities: That woman is a complete waste of space!
6 LAND (countable usually plural) especially literary a large empty or useless area of land: the icy wastes of Antarctica
—see also: wasteland 2 verb (T)
1 NOT USE SENSIBLY to use more money, time, energy etc than you should, or use it in a way that is not useful or sensible: Leaving the heating on all the time wastes electricity. | waste sth on: Don't waste your money on that junk!
2 waste your breath spoken to say something that has no effect: Don't try to reason with Paul - you're wasting your breath..
3 waste no time (in) doing sth to do something as quickly as you can because it will help you: Sandy wasted no time in getting to know the boss's daughter.
4 be wasted on sb if something is wasted on someone they are too stupid or unsuitable to be able to use or enjoy it: Her words of advice were wasted on me.
5 be wasted in sth if someone is wasted in a job etc, they are not using all of their abilities: Hannah's wasted in that clerical job.
6 BECAUSE OF ILLNESS if an illness wastes someone, they become thinner and weaker
—see also: wasted (3), wasting
7 waste not, want not spoken used to say that if you use what you have carefully, you will not be left with nothing later
8 HARM SB slang especially AmE to kill someone, severely injure them, or defeat them
waste away phrasal verb (I) to gradually become thinner and weaker, usually because you are ill 3 adjective
1 waste materials, substances etc are unwanted because the good part of them has been removed
2 used for holding or carrying away materials and substances that are no longer wanted: a waste pipe | a waste tank
3 waste land is empty or not fit to be used
—see also: waste 1 (6), wasteland, lay waste lay 1

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.


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