When one says "put the leftover pizza in the fridge", I imagine that the leftover pizza might mean one or a few slices of pizza that are decent enough for a person to eat as a meal or a snack.

However, say, I ate almost all the pizza and there were a few small pieces left. These pieces were bigger than crumbs but much smaller than a slice of pizza. Also, they came from the rear or edge of the pizza (is it correct to say the rear or edge of the pizza?) which were a bit burned and I don't eat the burned part of a pizza. See the picture below.

enter image description here

We can put these small pieces in the fridge but most people will dump them in the garbage.

Can we say "I dumped the leftover pizza in the garbage"?

Does it cause confusion to say that?

  • 10
    I think that your phrase would not cause confusion. In England we might say "I threw the pizza crusts in the bin".
    – whanrott
    Jun 17, 2022 at 11:55
  • 8
    To me that doesn't look like "leftover pizza", simply because I would't call those things "pizza". If somebody said to me "Do you want some pizza?" and then offered me those, I would think they were joking. I would call those pizza crusts.
    – stangdon
    Jun 17, 2022 at 11:59
  • 12
    The "remains of the pizza" might be clearer than "leftover pizza".
    – Peter
    Jun 17, 2022 at 12:07
  • 3
    No, we can't say the rear of the pizza because a round thing doesn't have a front and back; a pizza is designed so that all segments are identical. Jun 17, 2022 at 15:09
  • 5
    Leftovers is a word for unused but still human-edible food. This is not - most people living in areas where pizza is available would not touch this. Non-human-edible remains of food are scraps.
    – Therac
    Jun 18, 2022 at 11:17

4 Answers 4


Leftover pizza has a subtly different meaning to the one expressed by the OP. To avoid possible confusion, say

left-over scraps

The OP's solution

"I dumped the leftover pizza"

sounds like some uneaten pizza was thrown out. The photo shows what I would call pizza scraps.

  1. I threw what was left (of the pizza) into the garbage.
  2. I threw the pizza scraps out.
  3. I chucked the leftover scraps into the bin.

From Wral.com, posted July 14 2020

Vermont’s state fruit is the apple, but as of July 1, any Vermonters who toss the cores or peels of their beloved apples into the garbage will technically be breaking the law. The state recently implemented a law banning food waste in landfills, meaning that all Vermont residents are required to bring their leftover kitchen scraps — which include uneaten food and inedible items like egg shells, pits, peels, etc. — to a professional compost facility or compost the food waste themselves.

an organic waste/scrap bin filled with vegetable scraps

Lexico says


1.1 (scraps) Bits of uneaten food left after a meal.
‘he filled Sammy's bowls with fresh water and scraps
‘I am astounded that we are not able to put compostable waste such as food scraps etc in the green bin.’ ‘All year long I lug a small green compost bucket full of leftover scraps, carrot peels, tea leaves, and dead flowers out to the compost bin behind our shed.’

  • 2
    I agree with this but would add that the single word leftovers also conveys the meaning of 'leftover scraps'.
    – dbmag9
    Jun 18, 2022 at 10:11
  • 10
    @dbmag9: Does it really, for you? For me (native BrE speaker) leftovers suggests an amount that I might want to eat later — as OP describes in the question. Leftover scraps is fine and clear, but leftovers as a noun has strongly different connotations.
    – PLL
    Jun 18, 2022 at 14:29
  • @PLL to be fair the use of garbage in the question does imply a US answer is needed.
    – mdewey
    Jun 18, 2022 at 14:32
  • 5
    @mdewey: As a Canadian, "leftovers" / "leftover pizza" has the same meaning for me as what PLL describes, something I'd want to eat later. I'm pretty sure US English speakers would understand the same connotation. I'm curious what flavour of English dbmag9 is using where "leftover scraps" could be "leftovers". Or maybe they just enjoy the bready pizza crusts and would want them as a snack later? Jun 18, 2022 at 22:10
  • Leftover Scraps works but those are pizza crusts. And when they are half eaten and left behind one would say, Throw the [pizza] crusts away. It would of course be understood that the lone olive, quarter slice of pepperoni, and mushroom particle should also be thrown away.
    – EllieK
    Jun 21, 2022 at 12:54

Simply say:

I dumped the pizza crusts in the garbage

Pizza crusts are the edges of the pizza basically.

  • 3
    There also seems to be a half of a pepperoni slice among the crusts. :)
    – Barmar
    Jun 18, 2022 at 13:20

"Listen up, guys" (A Mother Says to Her Kids through A Note on the Fridge)

Leftover pizza should be put in the fridge!
Pizza crusts should be put in the garbage bin!

Thank you for your cooperation!

  • 1
    In my house pizza crusts go into the dog's bowl unless I scarf them down on the way. Jun 19, 2022 at 15:20
  • @EthanBolker Whatever. It is just an example.
    – Lambie
    Jun 19, 2022 at 15:21

There is no suggestion that if something is left over it is of a particular size. So even if you have a spoonful of rice left over from the meal it is still leftover rice. similarly if you cater for a party and fewer people turn up than you imagined you may have leftover food enough to feed a dozen people.

  • This is correct. The point is that the word "pizza" can be used as either a count noun ("Two large pizzas please") or a mass noun ("Some leftover pizza on my plate"), and the substance shown in the picture is definitely pizza. Jun 18, 2022 at 10:46
  • 5
    The first part of this answer is is NOT correct. As noted elsewhere, "leftovers" inherently implies 'usable'. So anything that is approaching crumbs, or for example, an apple core, would not be described as "leftovers" - size does matter in this case.
    – MikeB
    Jun 20, 2022 at 11:22
  • @MikeBrockington an apple core is not a leftover since most people would not eat it although some people do. There is an assumption that a leftover is fit for human consumption. Obviously opinions can vary over apple cores and pizza crusts.
    – mdewey
    Jun 21, 2022 at 15:51

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