waste (adj.)

c. 1300, of land, "desolate, uncultivated," from Anglo-French and Old North French waste (Old French gaste), from Latin vastus "empty, desolate," from PIE *wasto-, extended suffixed form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out." From c. 1400 as "superfluous, excess;" 1670s as "unfit for use." Waste-paper attested from 1580s.

waste (n.)

c. 1200, "desolate regions," from Anglo-French and Old North French wast "waste, damage, destruction; wasteland, moor" (Old French gast), from Latin vastum, neuter of vastus "empty, desolate," from PIE *wasto-, extended suffixed form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out."

Replaced or merged with Old English westen, woesten "a desert, wilderness," from the Latin word. Meanings "consumption, depletion," also "useless expenditure" are from c. 1300; sense of "refuse matter" is attested from c. 1400. Waste basket first recorded 1850.

waste (v.)

c. 1200, "devastate, ravage, ruin," from Anglo-French and Old North French waster "to waste, squander, spoil, ruin" (Old French gaster; Modern French gâter), altered (by influence of Frankish *wostjan) from Latin vastare "lay waste," from vastus "empty, desolate," from PIE *wasto-, extended suffixed form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out." Related: wasted; wasting.

The Germanic word also existed in Old English as westan "to lay waste, ravage." Spanish gastar, Italian guastare also are from Germanic. Meaning "to lose strength or health; pine; weaken" is attested from c. 1300; the sense of "squander, spend or consume uselessly" is first recorded mid-14c.; meaning "to kill" is from 1964. Waste not, want not attested from 1778.

Share