de·plete | \ di-ˈplēt \
depleted; depleting

Definition of deplete 

transitive verb

1 : to empty of a principal substance The lake was depleted of water. depleting the country of its natural resources

2 : to lessen markedly in quantity, content, power, or value deplete our life savings their depleted resources

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Other words from deplete

depletable \-ˈplē-tə-bəl \ adjective
depleter \-ˈplē-tər \ noun
depletion \-ˈplē-shən \ noun
depletive \-ˈplē-tiv \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for deplete

deplete, drain, exhaust, impoverish, bankrupt mean to deprive of something essential to existence or potency. deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function. depleting our natural resources drain implies a gradual withdrawal and ultimate deprivation of what is necessary to an existence. personal tragedy had drained him of all spirit exhaust stresses a complete emptying. her lecture exhausted the subject impoverish suggests a deprivation of something essential to richness or productiveness. impoverished soil bankrupt suggests impoverishment to the point of imminent collapse. war had bankrupted the nation of resources

Did You Know?

The de- prefix often means "do the opposite of", so deplete means the opposite of "fill". Thus, for example, a kitchen's food supplies can be rapidly depleted by hungry teenagers. But deplete often suggests something more serious. Desertions can deplete an army; layoffs can deplete an office staff; and too much time in bed can rapidly deplete your muscular strength.

Examples of deplete in a Sentence

Activities such as logging and mining deplete our natural resources. We completely depleted our life savings when we bought our new house.

Recent Examples on the Web

The 28-year-old Stock, called up Sunday along with Kazuhisa Makita to fortify the Padres’ depleted bullpen, was drafted in the second round by the Cardinals in 2009. Kevin Acee,, "Robert Stock came a long way to show he belonged with Padres," 24 June 2018 With domestic mines being depleted, Poland last year imported about 20 percent of its coal used for power generation, mostly from Russia. James M Gomez,, "Even Europe’s Coal Addict Wants to Get Clean," 27 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile the agency’s supply warehouse on Puerto Rico had zero cots, zero tarps and an almost negligible stockpile of food and water, its limited contents depleted during another storm two weeks earlier. Laignee Barron, Time, "FEMA Says It Was Significantly Unprepared When Hurricane Maria Hit Puerto Rico," 13 July 2018 Investigators found that Abrahamson had depleted his retirement account and made large payments into his life insurance account before his death. Tonya Alanez,, "Murder was elaborately staged suicide, police say," 13 July 2018 The sickness seems to wake them from their winter slumber earlier, depleting critical fat reserves and causing dehydration. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, "A mysterious disease is killing millions of bats. These scientists are trying to save them.," 12 July 2018 To aid those islands, FEMA had depleted its Puerto Rico warehouse, the report says. Frances Robles, New York Times, "FEMA Was Sorely Unprepared for Puerto Rico Hurricane, Report Says," 12 July 2018 The exodus of Puerto Ricans to the continental U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Maria is shrinking the island’s population, depleting Prepa’s customer base and leaving creditors fewer avenues to get repaid. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Puerto Rico Utility Directors Resign, Alleging Political Interference," 12 July 2018 Replacing two horses this year will deplete a significant amount of the organization's operating budget, Golightly said. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "IMPD Mounted Unit mourns loss of second horse in a month," 5 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of deplete

1807, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deplete

Latin depletus, past participle of deplēre, from de- + plēre to fill — more at full

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Statistics for deplete

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deplete

The first known use of deplete was in 1807

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More Definitions for deplete



English Language Learners Definition of deplete

: to use most or all of (something important) : to greatly reduce the amount of (something)


de·plete | \ di-ˈplēt \
depleted; depleting

Kids Definition of deplete

: to reduce in amount by using up The soil was depleted of minerals.


transitive verb
de·plete | \ di-ˈplēt \
depleted; depleting

Medical Definition of deplete 

: to empty (as the blood vessels) of a principal substance a body depleted by excessive blood loss tissues depleted of vitamins

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