Waist or Waste?

by Craig Shrives

The Difference between "Waist" and "Waste"

"Waist" and "waste" are easy to confuse because they sound identical (i.e., they are perfect homonyms). However, their meanings are very different.
  • "Waist" is the middle part of the body. For example:
    • The circumference of your waist is a good measure of fat around your middle.
  • "Waste" means garbage or rubbish. For example:
    • Please put all waste in the bins before you leave.
  • "Waste" also means to expend without reason. For example:
    • Do not waste your time with Jack.
waist or waste?

Ready for the Test?

More about "Waist" and "Waste"

"Waist" and "waste" are homophone homonyms because they sound the same. They are not homograph homophones because they have different spellings. "Waist" and "waste" are both common words, and your readers will expect you to use the right one.

Waist

"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."


waist

Waste

"Waste" can be a noun, a verb, or an adjective. It has five main meanings:

(1) 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.
(2) To expend materials or resources without reason.
  • Do not waste drinking water.
  • Junk mail invades our homes and wastes our time.
(3) To wear away, to weaken, or to tire.
  • Her quadriceps ave wasted badly since the injury.
  • I am wasted after that run.
  • (This is a colloquialism. It means "I am tired.")
(4) Uninhabited or uncultivated (usually of land).
  • This area has turned to wasteland since the flood.
(5) 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.

Remembering "Waist"

Imagine the i in the middle of "waist" is a person.

waist in the middle of person
There's a person in the middle of waist. There's a waist in the middle of a person.
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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

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