waste not, want not

Cultural Dictionary

Waste not, want not definition


If we don't waste what we have, we'll still have it in the future and will not lack (want) it.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

waste not, want not

Wise use of one's resources will keep one from poverty. For example, I just hate to throw out good foodwaste not, want not. This proverbial saying was first recorded in 1772 but had an earlier, even more alliterative version, willful waste makes woeful want (1576).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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