Definition of wastrel in English:



  • 1literary A wasteful or good-for-nothing person.

    ‘I have no intention of seeing my dues gambled away by your wastrel of a son’
    • ‘His prospective employer, Tony, is an upper-class wastrel just come into his inheritance.’
    • ‘This is a horribly patronising movie that makes Dublin in 1967 look like a theme-park of amiable drunken wastrels and boozy squawking women in headscarves and ankle socks.’
    • ‘But to the contrary, the people were sympathetic towards her for having no father and a wastrel of a brother.’
    • ‘In those dark days fathers surfaced in politics either as incipient child-abusers, or alimony-evading wastrels.’
    • ‘These children, they said, were destined to become wastrels, neurotic misfits or criminals.’
    spendthrift, prodigal, profligate, squanderer
    idler, loafer, good-for-nothing, drone, ne'er-do-well, do-nothing, layabout, slob, lounger, shirker, sluggard, slug, laggard, slugabed
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic A waif; a neglected child.


Late 16th century (denoting a strip of waste land): from the verb waste + -rel.