Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or process of consuming.
  • n. The state of being consumed.
  • n. An amount consumed.
  • n. Economics The using up of goods and services by consumer purchasing or in the production of other goods.
  • n. Pathology A progressive wasting of body tissue.
  • n. Pathology Pulmonary tuberculosis. No longer in scientific use.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of consuming something.
  • n. The amount consumed.
  • n. The wasting-away of the human body through disease.
  • n. Pulmonary tuberculosis.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or process of consuming by use, waste, etc.; decay; destruction.
  • n. The state or process of being consumed, wasted, or diminished; waste; diminution; loss; decay.
  • n. A progressive wasting away of the body; esp., that form of wasting, attendant upon pulmonary phthisis and associated with cough, spitting of blood, hectic fever, etc.; pulmonary phthisis; -- called also pulmonary consumption.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of consuming; destruction as by decomposition, burning, eating, etc.; hence, destruction of substance; annihilation.
  • n. Specifically Dissipation or destruction by use; in polit. ccon., the use or expenditure of the products of industry, or of anything having an exchangeable value.
  • n. The state of being wasted or diminished.
  • n. In medicine: A wasting away of the flesh; a gradual attenuation of the body; progressive emaciation: a word of comprehensive signification
  • n. More specifically, a disease of the lungs accompanied by fever and emaciation, often but not invariably fatal: called technically phthisis, or phthisis pulmonaris. See phthisis and tuberculosis.
  • n. In Roman law, loss of a right of action after commencement of the suit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (economics) the utilization of economic goods to satisfy needs or in manufacturing
  • n. the act of consuming something
  • n. the process of taking food into the body through the mouth (as by eating)
  • n. involving the lungs with progressive wasting of the body

Etymologies

Middle English consumpcioun, from Latin cōnsūmptiō, cōnsūmptiōn-, a consuming, from cōnsūmptus, past participle of cōnsūmere, to consume; see consume.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • an advanced stage is called galloping consumption

    May 29, 2009

  • Emily in a letter to her dead father: Now that the days are getting cool Aunt Elizabeth makes me wear my thick flannel petticoat. I hate it. It makes me so bunchy. But Aunt Elizabeth says I must wear it because you died of consumption.

    -L.M. Montgomery, "Emily of New Moon"

    April 13, 2009

  • "The consumer culture propelled more suburbanites into the workforce, leaving the abandoned neighbourhoods less lively and less neighbourly. When the workers came home, they were tired. The private life of consumption and convenience was steadily winning out over a public life that was rich in social, natural and cultural connections. PTA participation was inversely proportional to rising incomes. The hurry-up mindset of postwar housing shortages had become the law of the land, scripted into thick tomes of municipal code that often specified resource-exhausting, time-consuming patterns of development."
    - D. Chiras & D. Wan, 'Superbia!'.

    November 4, 2008