Old English wisnian, weosnian "to wither, dry up, waste away," from Proto-Germanic *wisnon (source also of Old Norse visna "to wither," Old High German wesanen "to dry up, shrivel, wither;" German verwesen "to decay, rot"). Related: Wizened.
1848, "practical and scientific methods of preservation of health and promotion of sanitary conditions," irregularly formed from sanitary. The somewhat euphemistic use in reference to garbage and domestic waste disposal is (as in sanitation engineer) is by 1916 (sanitation man).
1540s, "extravagance, expenditure, prodigality, waste," from French profusion (16c.) and directly from Late Latin profusionem (nominative profusio) "a pouring out," noun of action from past-participle stem of profundere "to pour forth" (see profuse). Meaning "abundance, superfluity" is from 1705.