burn·​out | \ ˈbərn-ˌau̇t \

Definition of burnout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the cessation of operation usually of a jet or rocket engine also : the point at which burnout occurs
2a : exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
b : a person suffering from burnout
3 : a person showing the effects of drug abuse

burn out


Definition of burn out (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to drive out or destroy the property of by fire
2 : to cause to fail, wear out, or become exhausted especially from overwork or overuse

intransitive verb

: to suffer burnout

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of burnout in a Sentence


Teaching can be very stressful, and many teachers eventually suffer burnout. the burnout rate among teachers a novel about academic burnouts


working 12-hour days at that job just burned me out
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And last year, a meta-analysis of studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that organizational revamps could make a small, but noticeable difference in reducing physician burnout. Lucas Laursen, Fortune, "Burned-Out Doctors Make Twice as Many Errors. The Business World Could Offer a Solution," 10 July 2018 These stories humanize the person in the hospital bed and may protect against physician burnout. Washington Post, "Doctors are taught early about patient histories. Is it time for different questions?," 28 Apr. 2018 Christina Maslach, a professor emerita of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, is best known for her pioneering research on job burnout. Katie Worth, Scientific American, "When Scientists Are Mad about Each Other," 14 Feb. 2014 Kevin Harvick does a burnout after winning the NASCAR All-Star auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord on Saturday. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "'I believe!' There are a million reasons for Kevin Harvick's All-Star victory ritual | Charlotte Observer," 20 May 2018 To avoid afternoon meal burnout, think outside of the lunchbox and embrace atypical lunches. Mandy Major, Woman's Day, "How to Pack a Better School Lunch," 28 Aug. 2012 Eventually, the intense grind caused Jeremy to experience burnout. Ariana Marsh, Teen Vogue, "How iPad Artist Jeremy Martin Is Making Waves in the Fashion Industry," 26 Nov. 2018 Where the ob-gyns are A few key factors are driving the decline: first, burnout. Barbara Brody, Glamour, "The Ob-Gyn Shortage Is Real—And It Might Impact Your Care," 14 Nov. 2018 Potential obstacles to approval The greatest obstacles could be a hangover from the head-tax debacle and potential burnout among voters who agreed to double the city’s transportation and housing levies in 2015 and 2016. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle property-tax levy to test voters’ generosity toward education," 15 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Scott Olson/Getty Images We were also reminded this year that after storms pass and flames burn out, people can continue suffering from a disaster. Umair Irfan, Vox, "What we learned from the disasters that hammered the US in 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 There is a little concern within the camp that his squad could burn out quickly and that could affect their chances deeper into the tournament. SI.com, "Belgium Boss Roberto Martinez Cancels Training For Fear of Overexerting Team Too Early," 20 June 2018 For a time, a long-running romance had the drummer in Naples, Fla., but that flame burned out and Klauber never married. Stu Bykofsky, Philly.com, "Philly drummer wrote his own ticket to success | Stu Bykofsky," 22 May 2018 Bjorn Borg was just as overwhelming at his peak but did not have Nadal’s staying power, burning out in his mid-20s. New York Times, "Rafael Nadal Extends His Reign With an 11th French Open Title," 10 June 2018 Arsenal have been a dealt a blow in the pursuit of Arsene Wenger's successor, as Joachim Löw is reluctant to occupy the position following Germany's World Cup defence in fear of a post-tournament burn out. SI.com, "Joachim Löw Hands Arsenal Latest Setback in Pursuit of Arsene Wenger's Successor," 26 Apr. 2018 The rate is at levels that people burn out and are treated as disposable. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Muslim Amazon workers say they don’t have enough time to pray. Now they’re fighting for their rights.," 14 Dec. 2018 The player begins the game as a deadbeat janitor already burned out with the daily grind. Todd Martens, latimes.com, "Insomniac Games celebrates the underdog with optimism, from ‘Ratchet and Clank’ to ‘Spider-Man’," 16 June 2018 Publicly traded companies and equity funds have bought up almost every major house, and the suits are turning the screws, famously burning out the likes of Raf Simons, John Galliano, and, most tragically, Alexander McQueen. Alexandra Marshall, Town & Country, "Is Julien d'Ys the Most Influential Hairstylist In Fashion?," 2 May 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burnout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of burnout


1940, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1710, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about burnout

Statistics for burnout

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for burnout

The first known use of burnout was in 1710

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for burnout



English Language Learners Definition of burnout

: the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time
: a person who suffers burnout
: the time when a jet or rocket engine stops working because there is no more fuel available


burn·​out | \ ˈbərn-ˌau̇t \

Medical Definition of burnout

1a : exhaustion of physical or emotional strength usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
b : a person affected with burnout
2 : a person showing the effects of drug abuse

More from Merriam-Webster on burnout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with burnout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for burnout

Comments on burnout

What made you want to look up burnout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!