waste(redirected from wastes)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
Related to wastes: Waste management
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.
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.
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!
be a waste of space
slang To be blatantly unhelpful or useless. This phrase is often applied to people as a derogatory term. Boy, he's a waste of space, standing around while the rest of us all move furniture. The old monitor doesn't work anymore, so at this point it's just a waste of space. Let's trash it.
waste (one's) breath
To talk of, discuss, or say things that are likely to be ignored or are in vain. Don't bother trying to change my mind about this, you're wasting your breath! It looks like I wasted my breath trying to pitch my idea to the board of directors.
waste no time (in) (doing something)
To act or do something immediately or as expediently as possible. Wow, Sarah wasted no time finding a new boyfriend after she and Rob split up. We have to have the application in by tomorrow morning, so we must waste no time in getting everyone's signature that we need.
don't waste your time
This situation seems futile, so don't bother doing anything about it. No one ever gets an A from that professor, so don't waste your time perfecting your paper for a measly B.
waste on (someone or something)
To expend something on a person or thing that will not appreciate or properly utilize it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "waste" and "on." Her talent in art is wasted on me—I have no eye for design.
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.
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.
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.
lay something to wasteand 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.
to wither or dwindle away. Our money just seemed to waste away. As she grew older, she just sort of wasted away.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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]
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."
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.
Lose energy and vigor, become enfeebled and weak, as in She was wasting away before our eyes. [Late 1300s]
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).
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.
lay waste to something
If something lays waste to something, it completely destroys it. The disease itself spread like wildfire, laying waste to whole communities in a matter of days. People's rush to the countryside to escape the civil war has laid waste to most of its forest and grassland.
a waste of spaceBRITISH, INFORMAL
If you describe someone as a waste of space, you mean that they are completely useless. The woman in charge of administration is a complete waste of space.
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.
n. worthless white people. (A play on (poor) white trash. Contrived.) I’m not caucasian waste! I wouldn’t ever live there!
toxic waste dump
n. a horrible person or place. Frank, stop acting like a toxic waste dump and do as you’re asked.
tv. to kill someone. (Underworld.) The mob’s triggers sped by in a car and wasted four pushers.
To ravage: Rebel troops laid waste the town.
waste (one's) breath
To gain or accomplish nothing by speaking.