de·​plete | \ di-ˈplēt How to pronounce deplete (audio) \
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

Other Words from deplete

depletable \ di-​ˈplē-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce deplete (audio) \ adjective
depleter \ di-​ˈplē-​tər How to pronounce deplete (audio) \ noun
depletion \ di-​ˈplē-​shən How to pronounce deplete (audio) \ noun
depletive \ di-​ˈplē-​tiv How to pronounce deplete (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for deplete



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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

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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 Experts say your level of self-control tends to deplete over the course of a day. Womensmedia, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Medicare is already expected to deplete its trust fund by 2026, endangering its ability to cover even basic, life-saving therapies such as blood pressure medications. John N. Mafi And Catherine Sarkisian, STAT, 9 Apr. 2022 In other words, the game offers busy parents a low-stakes diversion that doesn't threaten to deplete our time, energy, or attention span. Stephanie H. Murray, The Week, 1 Feb. 2022 That will likely deplete the battery faster, but not to worry: It can be fully recharged in around two hours. Kyle Schnitzer, Robb Report, 17 Feb. 2022 Invasive species: Nonnative plant species like tamarisk can take over river systems, push out cottonwoods and willows and deplete the water table. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 1 Apr. 2022 In other not-great wildfire news, Bob Berwyn reports for Inside Climate News on new research finding that smoke columns can rise into the stratosphere and deplete the ozone layer, adding to skin cancer risk. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Those words helped launch the catch-and-release craze, a more humane method of fishing that doesn’t deplete species of fish. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2022 Democrats in the Senate have introduced legislation that would suspend the 18.5-cents-per-gallon tax for the rest of the year, although critics note that doing so would deplete the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for road maintenance. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 30 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for deplete

Time Traveler

The first known use of deplete was in 1807

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Dictionary Entries Near deplete



depletion ration

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Statistics for deplete

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deplete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for deplete


de·​plete | \ di-ˈplēt How to pronounce deplete (audio) \
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 How to pronounce deplete (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on deplete

Nglish: Translation of deplete for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deplete for Arabic Speakers


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