I have phrases like "if I do this I'll save energy" or "this results in an energy saving"...

The point being that there is an implied before and after: I use less energy after than before = "I save energy" / "energy saving".

Is there a word for the opposite of that?

I use more energy after than before = "I ??? energy" / "energy ???"

To make it clearer, I'd say that "lose" is for example not the right word. Yes, I lose energy both before and after, but now I lose more energy.

  • Are you looking for expend? Jun 8, 2016 at 11:06
  • @Autoresponder I don't think so. Expend does not imply that I use more than before, does it? Jun 8, 2016 at 11:30
  • I think you would simply say "use(s) more energy". I don't think there's a single word for it. Jun 8, 2016 at 14:57
  • A happy medium would be efficiency. [More or less] efficient.
    – Mazura
    Jun 8, 2016 at 15:03
  • @MaxWilliams I'm beginning to think, you are right, None of the words here really covers my use case :) Jun 11, 2016 at 7:14

3 Answers 3


The problem here is that "save" doesn't actually mean "use less than before". It has a more complicated meaning, along the idea of conserving an important resource that would otherwise be lost. For example, if I want to say "people used less water after the drought started" I wouldn't say the drought resulted in water savings, not in the same way I'd say that of people taking showers instead of baths. In order to "save" a resource by using it less you need the lesser use to result in more of the resource being available for other or future uses.

So the opposite is indeed "waste", i.e. use the resource more in a way that results in less being available for other or future uses.

To use your example that objects to this : "A sample: "I changed our subscription to something worse and cheaper to save money" vs "I changed our subscription to something better and more expensive to waste money"?"

The issue is that you wouldn't change your subscription to something better or more expensive to [anything] money ! While saving money is a goal for getting a cheaper and worse subscription, your goal in getting a more expensive subscription is clearly to get a better subscription, not to use more money ! So you would say "I spent more money on a more expensive subscription to get better service". The accent wouldn't be on using more or less money at all, because the original use of "save" wasn't really about the amount of money used either - it was about the concept of allocating your money away from the subscription and towards things you find more valuable.

And so there isn't really an antonym to "save" in this context because it isn't a binary situation; you could have an infinite number of goals and priorities that determine what you do about your subscription, and they'd each have a verb or expression of their own. And if that goal was to spend more money (you need to impress the Jones', your department needs to use up its funding before the end of the year or it will be cut), then you'd probably just say "spending more money".


You're wasting energy:

  • loss of something valuable that occurs because too much of it is being used or because it is being used in a way that is not necessary or effective

  • an action or use that results in the unnecessary loss of something valuable

from Merriam-Webster

  • Thank you for the answer! Somehow it feels like wasting is not neutral to what has changed as saving is? A sample: "I changed our subscription to something worse and cheaper to save money" vs "I changed our subscription to something better and more expensive to waste money"? Jun 8, 2016 at 11:09
  • I can try to be more clear. If I present two budgets, one where I "reduce consumption of X as opposed to last year" and one where I "increase consumption of X as opposed to last year". During my presentation I say about the first budget: "This budget saves X compared to last year". For the second budget I would say: "This budget wastes X compared to last year". In this context waste does not seem like the right word? I don't necessarily waste X, I just use more... maybe for a good reason. Jun 8, 2016 at 11:28

Perhaps expend?

to use (time, energy, effort, etc.) for a particular purpose

Source: Merriam Webster

"This budget expends more energy compared to last year's."

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