waste away

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waste away

1. To dwindle toward a state of nothingness or complete decrepitude; to wither away. He didn't want them to see him wasting away from the cancer. The old industrial site just sits out there wasting away, unable to be rezoned due to contamination.
2. To squander something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "waste" and "away." I feel like we've been wasting away every weekend watching TV. Let's try to get out of the house tomorrow. The old fool wasted his fortune away on trips to the casino.
See also: away, waste

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 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 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 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
References in classic literature ?
Something, it seems to me, may be contained and kept alive in formality, but in formlessness everything spills and wastes away. This is what I find the fatal defect of our American Ossian, Walt Whitman, whose way is where artistic madness lies.
-- dear me, there's no music that can touch it; and how one grieves when it wastes away and dissolves into correct- ness, knowing it will never visit his bereaved ear again.
She needs to get help before she wastes away," the insider said.
During the specialized cell division that leads to the creation of egg cells, the leftover complement of 23 chromosomes gets packaged into a smaller cell called a polar body, which remains attached to the egg but eventually wastes away. In a woman who has inherited a normal gene from one parent and a defective version of the same gene from the other parent, the question of which gene her child will inherit boils down to one random event: Will the good gene end up in the mother's egg cell, or in that egg cell's polar body?