Etymology
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wasteland (n.)

1825 as one word, from waste (adj.) + land (n.). Figurative sense is attested from 1868. Eliot's poem is from 1922.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
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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.
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wash (n.)
late Old English wæsc "act of washing," from wash (v.). Meaning "clothes set aside to be washed" is attested from 1789; meaning "thin coat of paint" is recorded from 1690s; sense of "land alternately covered and exposed by the sea" is recorded from mid-15c.
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Wassermann (n.)
test for syphilis, 1909, from German bacteriologist August Paul Wassermann (1866-1925), who devised it in 1906.
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waspish (adj.)
"irascible, quick to take offense; spiteful," 1560s, from wasp + -ish. Related: Waspishly; waspishness.
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washer (n.1)
1520s, "person who washes," agent noun from wash (v.). From 1808 as "machine that washes." Washer-woman is from 1630s; earlier wash-woman (1580s).
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washing (n.)
Old English wæscing "action of washing clothes," verbal noun from wash (v.). Meaning "clothes washed at one time" is from 1854. Washing machine attested from 1754.
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wasp (n.)

Old English wæps, wæsp "wasp," altered (probably by influence of Latin vespa) from Proto-Germanic *wabis- (source also of Old Saxon waspa, Middle Dutch wespe, Dutch wesp, Old High German wafsa, German Wespe, Danish hveps), from PIE *wopsa-/*wospa- "wasp" (source also of Latin vespa, Lithuanian vapsa, Old Church Slavonic vosa "wasp," Old Irish foich "drone"), perhaps from root *(h)uebh- "weave" (see weave (v.)). If that is the correct derivation, the insect would be so called for the shape of its nest. Of persons with wasp-like tendencies, from c. 1500. Wasp-waist in reference to women's figures is recorded from 1870 (wasp-waisted is from 1775).

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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.
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wastrel (n.)
"spendthrift, idler," 1847, from waste (v.) + pejorative suffix -rel. Earlier "something useless or imperfect" (1790).
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