waist and waste - the difference

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
Waist is the middle part of the body.
Waste means rubbish garbage or to expend without reason.
waist or waste?

Waist and Waste

The words waist and waste sound identical, but their meanings are very different.


Waist is the part of the body between the ribs and hips. A section of clothing that fits the waist may also be called the waist (e.g., The waist on this suit is too tight). Similarly, midsections of airplanes and ships can also be referred to as waists.



Waste can be a noun, a verb or an adjective. It has several meanings:

Useless materials left over from another activity (i.e., rubbish , garbage ).
  • Cellular waste products are a by-product of cellular respiration.
  • Originally, soya milk was a waste product of tofu.
  • The new concept encourages producers to leave no municipal waste for landfill.
To expend materials or resources without reason.
  • Do not waste drinking water.
  • Junk mail invades our homes and wastes our time.
To wear away, to weaken or to tire.
  • Her quadriceps ave wasted badly since the injury.
  • I am wasted after that run.
  • (I am tired...)
Uninhabited or uncultivated (usually of land).
  • This area has turned to wasteland since the flood.
To kill (slang).
  • I am going to waste that little punk.

Common Terms with "Waist" and "Waste"

Common terms with the word "waist":
  • waistcoat
  • waistline
Common terms with the word "waste":
  • waste away
  • toxic waste
  • waste of space
  • waste of time
  • waste of breath
  • waste land
  • Haste makes waste.
  • Don't waste your breath.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words