Both 浪费 and 糟蹋 mean "to waste." (I'm not really concerned with the other uses of 糟蹋 right now.)

I've seen the collocations 糟蹋粮食 and 糟蹋人才, and 浪费 is very common in phrases like 浪费时间 and 浪费水.

Are there situations where both 浪费 and 糟蹋 are acceptable? Are they only applied to different types of things? Is there a tonal difference between the two words? (糟蹋 seems stronger, but 浪费粮食 and 浪费人才 also sound OK to me.)

  • I think the answers already covered most of it. Just to add one point: 浪费 sounds more formal than 糟蹋. 糟蹋 is hardly used in any newspaper headline or slogan.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 9:26

4 Answers 4




糟蹋 has a stronger tone than 浪费. When people feel a valuable object is being damaged or is not being used with care, one would usually use 糟蹋, and not 浪费. 粮食 can be 浪费 or 糟蹋; 人才 could be 糟蹋, but is unable to be 浪费.

浪费: use when a relatively inexpensive object is being damaged or used without care, when the speaker feels it's a waste but not in a painful way.
糟蹋: use when a very valuable object is being damaged or used without care, or when the speaker feels pained.

  • 赞! Great answer, would love to see more participation in Chinese on this site. Thanks!
    – Alf
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 3:39
  • 时间很珍贵,但我不曾听过有人糟蹋啊。
    – 杨以轩
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 3:40
  • @QuestionOverflow 时间只有在需要时才会珍贵,不需要时,会希望它过得更快。:)
    – tiger
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 6:21
  • 人要是糟蹋一件东西,又怎会去珍惜呢? =)
    – 杨以轩
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 6:38
  • Considering the question is in English, can we add an english translation?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 10:44

I came across this dictionary 《小學生的國語辭典》(精)(小贏家) approved by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education for primary school students:

糟蹋:任意浪費,不加以愛惜。 例:不要糟蹋糧食。請注意:「糟蹋」和「浪费」都有任急耗費不加以愛惜的意思,但是有分別:「糟蹋」除了指浪費外,還指損壞、任意破壞:「浪費」指的是人力、財力、時間沒有好好運用,和「節約」、「節省」相反。「糟蹋」的語意比「浪賨」重。

meaning for 糟

Translated: Both terms contain the meaning of indiscriminate wastage and not treasuring of the subject. But there is a distinction in that 糟蹋, besides possessing the meaning of 浪費, also includes some form of ruining or destroying at will.

糟蹋 is a much stronger term to use than 浪費.



I wasted quite some time attempting this difficult maths question.


Please don't ruin the cake if you don't want to eat it.

  • I don't think 糟蹋 infers deliberation. For example: 工厂这一倒闭,新买的机器都被糟蹋了。
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 9:20
  • @NS.X., I have looked up Baidu and yes, you are right. It doesn't have to be deliberate. But I think it is used in a more destructive sense than 浪费. I don't think the issue here is about whether the item wasted is more precious or less precious as tiger has suggested.
    – 杨以轩
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 15:23
  • 《现代汉语规范词典》 writes 任意浪费或损坏 for 糟蹋.
    – BertR
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 17:40
  • @BertR, I think 任意 here means 'unconstrained' rather than 'at will'. Regardless, this explanation doesn't sound very rounded.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 18:53

if you hate the subject, use 糟蹋。 the subject is used to be considered as cheaper than the object. Or you have sympathy with the object, you can use 糟蹋.


浪费 means waste,while 糟蹋 kind of means destroy. 浪费 has a more board use than 糟蹋. You just have to remember the situation when 糟蹋 will be used.




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