AskDefine | Define refuse

Dictionary Definition

refuse n : food that is discarded (as from a kitchen) [syn: garbage, food waste, scraps]


1 show unwillingness towards; "he declined to join the group on a hike" [syn: decline] [ant: accept]
2 refuse to accept; "He refused my offer of hospitality" [syn: reject, pass up, turn down, decline] [ant: accept]
3 elude, especially in a baffling way; "This behavior defies explanation" [syn: defy, resist] [ant: lend oneself]
4 refuse to let have; "She denies me every pleasure"; "he denies her her weekly allowance" [syn: deny] [ant: allow]
5 resist immunologically the introduction of some foreign tissue or organ; "His body rejected the liver of the donor" [syn: resist, reject]
6 refuse entrance or membership; "They turned away hundreds of fans"; "Black people were often rejected by country clubs" [syn: reject, turn down, turn away] [ant: admit]

User Contributed Dictionary


Etymology 1

Apparently from refuse (French refusé), past participle of refuser ‘to refuse’, as Etymology 2, below.


  • , /ˈɹɛfjuːs/, /"rEfju:s/


  1. Discarded, rejected.


  1. Collectively, items or material that have been discarded; rubbish, garbage.
items or material that have been discarded

Etymology 2

From refuser, from popular Latin *refusare, from the past participle of refundererefund’.


  • , /ɹɪˈfjuːz/, /rI"fju:z/


  1. To decline (a request or demand).
    My request for a pay rise was refused.
    I refuse to listen to this nonsense any more.
  2. To decline a request or demand; to withhold permission.
    I asked the star if I could have her autograph, but she refused.
Usage notes
decline (request, demand)
decline a request or demand



  1. Form of First-person singular present subjunctive, refuser
  2. Form of Third-person singular present subjunctive, refuser
  3. Form of Second-person singular imperative, refuser

Extensive Definition

Waste, is an unwanted or undesired material or substance. It is also referred to as rubbish, trash, garbage, or junk depending upon the type of material and the regional terminology. In living organisms, waste relates to unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from them.
Waste management is the human control of the collection, treatment and disposal of different wastes. This is in order to reduce the negative impacts waste has on environment and society.
Waste is directly linked to the human development, both technologically and socially. The composition of different wastes have varied over time and location. With industrial development and innovation being directly linked to waste materials. Examples of this include plastics and nuclear technology. Some components of waste have economical value and can be recycled once correctly recovered.
Biodegradable waste such as food waste or sewage, is broken down naturally by microorganisms either aerobically or anaerobically. If the disposal of biodegradable waste is not controlled it can cause a number of wider problems including contributing to the release of greenhouse gases and can impact upon human health via encouragement of pathogens.
It is difficult to define specifically what a waste is. Items that some people discard have value to others. It is widely recognised that waste materials are a valuable resource, whilst there is debate as to how this value is best realised. Governments need to define what waste is in order that it can be safely and legally managed. Different definitions need to be combined in order to ensure the safe and legal disposal of the waste.

Environmental impact

Many different types of waste have negative impacts upon the wider environment.
Waste pollution is considered a serious threat by many and can broadly be defined as any pollution associated with waste and waste management practices. Typical materials that are found in household waste which have specific environmental impacts with them include biodegradable wastes, batteries, aerosols, oils, acids and fluorescent tubes.
As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world with 4.5 pounds of municipal solid waste (MSW) per person per day, 55 percent of which is contributed as residential garbage. The remaining 45 percent of waste in the U.S.'s ‘waste stream' comes from manufacturing, retailing, and commercial trade in the U.S. economy .
Biodegradable waste is of specific concern as breaks down in landfills to form methane, a potent greenhouse gas. If this gas is not prevented from entering the atmosphere, by implication, it contributes to climate change.
Littering can be considered the most visible form of solid waste pollution. The act of littering for the most part constitutes disposing of waste inappropriately, typically in public places. Littering itself may or may not be an intentional action.
Other forms of pollution associated with waste materials include illegal dumping and leaching. Illegal dumping of flytipping often involves unregulated disposal of materials on private or public land. Remoted sites with road access coupled with limited surveillance often provides the perfect opportunity for this form of dumping which often goes unpunished and leaves others (such as the community or developer) to properly dispose of the waste.
Leaching is a process by which contaminants from solid waste enter soil and often ground water systems contaminating them.


The European Union defines waste as an object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard is waste under the Waste Framework Directive (European Directive 75/442/EC as amended). Once a substance or object has become waste, it will remain waste until it has been fully recovered and no longer poses a potential threat to the environment or to human health."'
The UK's Environmental Protection Act 1990 indicated waste includes any substance which constitutes a scrap material, an effluent or other unwanted surplus arising from the application of any process or any substance or article which requires to be disposed of which has been broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled; this is supplemented with anything which is discarded otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste unless the contrary is proved. This definition was amended by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 defining waste as:
"any substance or object which the producer or the person in possession of it, discards or intends or is required to discard but with exception of anything excluded from the scope of the Waste Directive".


There is a cultural dimension to waste. Wasting time, money, or food involves moral judgements that carry a great deal of weight in human interaction. Attitudes to this wastage differ between different societies.
For example, food may be wasted in one part of the world while there may be famine elsewhere. Chefs from a particular culinary tradition may prize cuts of meat that chefs in other traditions will dispose of. A parent may regard a child's career in a rock band as a waste of their education, though this opinion may not necessarily be shared by the child. The frivolous expenditure of money may be described as "wasting money" independently of the economic underpinning of the transactions concerned.
refuse in Arabic: قمامة
refuse in Guarani: Yty
refuse in Aymara: T'una
refuse in Bulgarian: Боклук
refuse in Czech: Odpad
refuse in Welsh: Sbwriel
refuse in Danish: Affald
refuse in German: Abfall
refuse in Spanish: Basura
refuse in Esperanto: Rubo
refuse in Persian: زباله
refuse in French: Déchet
refuse in Galician: Lixo
refuse in Korean: 쓰레기
refuse in Croatian: Otpad
refuse in Indonesian: Sampah
refuse in Italian: Rifiuti
refuse in Hebrew: פסולת
refuse in Lombard: Rumenta
refuse in Hungarian: Hulladék
refuse in Dutch: Afval (vuilnis)
refuse in Japanese: 廃棄物
refuse in Norwegian: Avfall
refuse in Norwegian Nynorsk: Søppel
refuse in Polish: Odpady
refuse in Portuguese: Resíduo
refuse in Quechua: Q'upa
refuse in Russian: Мусор
refuse in Simple English: Waste
refuse in Slovak: Odpad
refuse in Slovenian: Odpadek
refuse in Serbian: Отпад
refuse in Serbo-Croatian: Otpad
refuse in Finnish: Roska
refuse in Swedish: Avfall
refuse in Thai: ขยะมูลฝอย
refuse in Turkish: Çöp
refuse in Ukrainian: Відходи
refuse in Venetian: Scoazse
refuse in Yiddish: מיסט
refuse in Contenese: 垃圾
refuse in Chinese: 垃圾

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abjure, afterglow, afterimage, balance, ban, bar, be unmoved, be unwilling, beat back, beg off, bilge, bilgewater, bones, brush aside, brush off, butt, butt end, candle ends, carrion, castaway, castoff, chaff, chase, chase away, chase off, chuck, chuck out, collateral, contemn, contradict, culm, cut, deadwood, debar, debris, decline, decline to accept, deep six, deny, deprive of, derelict, despise, detritus, dirt, disagree, disallow, disapprove, discard, discarding, disclaim, discount, disdain, dishwater, dismiss, disown, disposal, disregard, dissent, ditchwater, dogie, draff, dregs, drive away, drive back, dross, dump, dumping, dust, dustheap, elimination, embargo, end, enjoin, except, exclude, exclude from, fag end, fend off, filings, flotsam, flotsam and jetsam, forbid, forswear, fossil, foundling, garbage, gash, hogwash, hold off, hold out against, holdover, husks, ignore, inhibit, interdict, jetsam, jettison, junk, junking, keep back, keep off, kelter, lagan, leavings, lees, leftovers, litter, lumber, muck, negate, negative, not allow, not buy, not consent, not hear of, not think of, odds and ends, offal, offscourings, orphan, orts, outlaw, pack off, parings, pass by, pass up, pelf, potsherds, preclude, prevent, prohibit, proscribe, push aside, push back, put back, rags, raspings, rebuff, recant, refuse consent, refuse to consider, reject, rejectamenta, rejection, relics, remainder, remains, remnant, removal, renounce, repel, repress, reprobate, repudiate, repulse, residue, residuum, resist entreaty, resist persuasion, rest, riffraff, roach, rubbish, ruins, rule out, rump, sawdust, say nay, say no, say no to, scourings, scout, scrap iron, scrapping, scraps, scum, scurf, send away, send off, send packing, sewage, sewerage, shadow, shards, shavings, shove away, shut out, slack, slag, slop, slops, slough, snub, spurn, stand aloof, straw, stubble, stump, suppress, survival, sweepings, swill, taboo, tares, throw away, throw out, throwaway, thrust back, trace, trash, turn away, turn back, turn down, turn out, vestige, vote nay, vote negatively, waif, waifs and strays, waive, ward off, wastage, waste, waste matter, wastepaper, wastrel, weeds, withhold
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