waste

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a waste of breath

Talk or discussion that is without worth, done in vain, or likely to be ignored. Don't bother trying to change my mind about this, it's a waste of breath! It looks like my whole pitch to the board of directors ended up being a waste of breath.
See also: breath, of, waste

a waste of energy

A useless, vain, or redundant effort or action. It turns out the boss had already chosen a direction for the project, so my presentation was a complete waste of energy.
See also: energy, of, waste

a committee is a group of men who keep minutes and waste hours

Committees take a very long time to accomplish something, if they accomplish anything at all. A pun on "minutes," which is a record of what is discussed at a particular meeting. A: "The task force has been in a meeting all day! How can they not have reached a decision by now?" B: "Well, a committee is a group of men who keep minutes and waste hours."

a mind is a terrible thing to waste

Education and exercising one's mind is important. No, you absolutely must go to college after you graduate in the spring! A mind is a terrible thing to waste!
See also: mind, terrible, thing, waste

Don't waste your time.

You will not get anywhere with it, so don't waste time trying. Mary: Should I ask Tom if he wants to go to the convention, or is he still in a bad mood? Sally: Don't waste your time. Mary: Bad mood, huh? Jane: I'm having trouble fixing this doorknob. Mary: Don't waste your time. I've ordered a new one.
See also: time, waste

go to waste

[for something] to be wasted; to be unused (and therefore thrown away). Eat your potatoes! Don't let them go to waste. We shouldn't let all those nice herbs go to waste. Let's pick some before the first hard frost.
See also: waste

Haste makes waste.

Prov. You do not save any time by working too fast; hurrying will cause you to make mistakes, and you will have to take extra time to do the job over again. Fred: Hurry up and get my car fixed. Alan: Don't rush me. Haste makes waste.
See also: haste, make, waste

lay something to waste

 and lay waste to something
Fig. to destroy something; to ruin or mess up something. The invaders laid the village to waste. The kids came in and laid waste to my clean house.
See also: lay, waste

waste away

to wither or dwindle away. Our money just seemed to waste away. As she grew older, she just sort of wasted away.
See also: away, waste

Waste not, want not.

Prov. Cliché If you do not waste anything, you will always have enough. Always save the fabric scraps left over from your sewing projects; you can use them to make something else. Waste not, want not. Sam never let his leftovers spoil in the refrigerator but made sure to eat them. "Waste not, want not," he said.
See also: not, want, waste

waste of space

something that is completely without value. The wrecked furniture in here is just a waste of space. This broken-down car is a waste of space!
See also: of, space, waste

waste one's breath

Fig. to waste one's time talking; to talk in vain. Don't waste your breath talking to her. She won't listen. You can't persuade me. You're just wasting your breath.
See also: breath, waste

waste someone

Sl. to kill someone. The thief tried to waste the bank guard after the bank robbery. The crook said, "Try that again, and I'll waste you!"

waste something away

to use something up wastefully; to dissipate something. He wasted all his money away and had to live in poverty. They wasted away everything and regretted it later.
See also: away, waste

waste something on someone or something

to throw something away on someone or something. Please don't waste any sweet potatoes on me. I don't like them. I can't waste any more money on this car.
See also: on, waste

waste your breath

to say something that is likely to be ignored You'd be wasting your breath reporting it to the police because they don't look for stolen bikes, even expensive ones.
Usage notes: often used in the form don't waste your breath: Don't waste your breath - I've already asked her to help and she said no.
See also: breath, waste

waste no time in doing something

also lose no time (in) doing something
to immediately begin an activity Caroline wasted no time in tackling her new job. Will came right from the airport to the office and lost no time getting back to work.
See also: time, waste

go to waste

to not be used It's wrong to let good food go to waste. The companies have spent millions of dollars on new equipment that lets nothing go to waste.
See also: waste

lay waste (to something)

to destroy something Last night, rabbits laid waste to the lettuce I was going to pick today. The army laid waste to the countryside as it moved south.
See also: lay, waste

waste away

1. to gradually become thin and weak He stopped eating and wasted away until he looked like a shadow.
2. to be damaged or rubbed away by weather Good soil can waste away quickly if it's not cared for properly.
See also: away, waste

waste something on somebody

to not be noticed or appreciated I wouldn't waste this material on high school students - they don't have the background to understand it.
Usage notes: often used when speaking of something of special quality: The difference between a really fine French wine and one that's not as good is wasted on me.
See also: on, waste

be a waste of space

  (informal)
if you say that someone is a waste of space, you mean that they do not do anything useful and you do not like them Her husband's a complete waste of space.
See also: of, space, waste

waste your breath

to tell or ask someone something although this will have no effect (often negative) Don't waste your breath. I've already asked her to help and she said no. You'd be wasting your breath reporting it to the police - they never look for stolen bikes.
See also: breath, waste

go to waste

Fail to be used or taken advantage of. For example, I hate to see such talent go to waste, or We bought so much food that some will be going to waste. [c. 1500]
See also: waste

haste makes waste

Proceeding too quickly can spoil an enterprise, as in Stop trying to rush through three things at once-haste makes waste, you know. This rhyming warning, first recorded in this exact form in 1575, was in John Ray's 1678 proverb collection, where the full text was: "Haste makes waste, and waste makes want, and want makes strife between the goodman and his wife."
See also: haste, make, waste

lay waste

Ravage, ruin, as in The hurricane laid waste the entire seashore. Originally referring to the devastation caused by attackers, this term has come to be used more generally.
See also: lay, waste

waste away

Lose energy and vigor, become enfeebled and weak, as in She was wasting away before our eyes. [Late 1300s]
See also: away, waste

waste not, want not

Wise use of one's resources will keep one from poverty. For example, I just hate to throw out good food-waste not, want not. This proverbial saying was first recorded in 1772 but had an earlier, even more alliterative version, willful waste makes woeful want (1576).
See also: not, want, waste

waste one's breath

Speak in vain (because no one agrees), as in Don't waste your breath complaining to the supervisor-it won't help. This notion was first recorded about 1400 as wasting words. The exact idiom was first recorded in 1667. Also see save one's breath.
See also: breath, waste

waste away

v.
1. To lose energy, strength, weight, or vigor; become weak or enfeebled: The patient wasted away from cancer.
2. To spend some time idly or wastefully: They are wasting their lives away playing video games. The idle rich waste away their days.
See also: away, waste

caucasian waste

n. worthless white people. (A play on (poor) white trash. Contrived.) I’m not caucasian waste! I wouldn’t ever live there!
See also: waste

toxic waste dump

n. a horrible person or place. Frank, stop acting like a toxic waste dump and do as you’re asked.
See also: dump, waste

waste

tv. to kill someone. (Underworld.) The mob’s triggers sped by in a car and wasted four pushers.

lay waste

To ravage: Rebel troops laid waste the town.
See also: lay, waste

waste (one's) breath

To gain or accomplish nothing by speaking.
See also: breath, waste
References in periodicals archive ?
There are other wastes from foundries which are more difficult to dispose and some of these should be regarded as 4special wastes' within the definitions of the 1980 Special Waste Regulations.
In the absence of disposal mechanisms permitted under the rules industries either stored wastes onsite or dumped them in the open.
Gray Davis vetoed a bill Monday that would have banned the dumping of low-level radioactive waste at urban landfills.
Geologists have recognized for decades that NORM could contaminate equipment and wastes at nearly any mineral-extraction site.
No one knows for sure because there are virtually no data concerning the global e-waste trade--harmonized tariff schedules that dictate fees for export commodities don't assign codes to waste electronics other than batteries.
A small North Bay biotechnology company has put a new spin on an old technology that treats the mounting problem of medical and chemical waste in the health-care industry.
Using a state grant of nearly $700,000 awarded to the two cities, a household hazardous waste collection center will be built at the Antelope Valley Landfill in Palmdale.
The foundry was held liable for sending state-approved foundry sand to assist a state-directed response action at a site where millions of gallons of liquid hazardous wastes had been indiscriminately dumped.
There's no magic alchemy involved--just a growing business called waste exchange.
Tribal leaders say that storing the nation's nuclear wastes on their land will bring jobs and money to the reservation.
According to Prince, vitrification can work with almost any form of waste -- from soil contaminated by lead or radon, to medical wastes, industrial sludges, and radioactive wastes.
Because infectious and hazardous wastes have the potential to be created at every bedside in a nursing home, the training and education component of the plan is particularly important.
During the summer of 1988, a public outcry arose when medical waste -- syringes, blood vials, and other medical debris -- washed up on beaches along the Atlantic, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts.
Supreme Court also considered a challenge to Alabama's waste disposal tax.