verb de·plete \ di-ˈplēt \
|Updated on: 15 Jul 2018

Definition of deplete

depleted; depleting
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


play \-ˈplē-tə-bəl\ adjective


play \-ˈplē-tər\ noun


play \-ˈplē-shən\ noun


play \-ˈplē-tiv\ adjective

Examples of deplete in a Sentence

  1. Activities such as logging and mining deplete our natural resources.

  2. We completely depleted our life savings when we bought our new house.

Recent Examples of deplete from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of deplete

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

DEPLETE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of deplete for English Language Learners

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

DEPLETE Defined for Kids


verb de·plete \ di-ˈplēt \

Definition of deplete for Students

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

Word Root of deplete

The Latin word plēre, meaning “to fill,” gives us the root ple. Words from the Latin plēre have something to do with filling or being full. Anything replete with something is full of that particular thing or quality. Something complete is totally full and finished. To deplete is to lessen the amount of something that was once full. A supplement is something that fills in something that is missing.

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb de·plete \ di-ˈplēt \

medical Definition of deplete

depleted; depleting
: 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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