fatigue

noun
fa·​tigue | \ fə-ˈtēg How to pronounce fatigue (audio) \

Definition of fatigue

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : labor
b : manual or menial work (such as the cleaning up of a camp area) performed by military personnel
c fatigues plural : the uniform or work clothing worn on fatigue and in the field
2a : weariness or exhaustion from labor, exertion, or stress We were overcome by fatigue after the long hike.
b : the temporary loss of power to respond that is induced in a sensory receptor (see receptor sense a) or motor (see motor entry 2 sense 1) end organ by continued stimulation
c : a state or attitude of indifference or apathy brought on by overexposure (as to a repeated series of similar events or appeals) … a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton launched within days of Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration. Voter fatigue is just one drawback to the long campaigns, though.— Martin Wisckol Most of the Romney voters they visited were fairly chipper, but there is an air of election fatigue in a state where most television commercial breaks are dominated by attack ads and the phone rings off the hook with campaign calls.— Daniel Malloy and Katie Leslie Waning media coverage of a humanitarian crisis is usually a precursor to "donor fatigue," in which assistance from other nations fades.Christian Science Monitor — see also compassion fatigue
3 : the tendency of a material to break under repeated stress metal fatigue

fatigue

verb
fatigued; fatiguing

Definition of fatigue (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to weary with labor or exertion
2 : to induce a condition of fatigue in

intransitive verb

: to suffer fatigue

fatigue

adjective

Definition of fatigue (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : consisting of, done, or used in fatigue fatigue detail
2 : belonging to fatigues a fatigue cap

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Choose the Right Synonym for fatigue

Verb

tire, weary, fatigue, exhaust, jade mean to make or become unable or unwilling to continue. tire implies a draining of one's strength or patience. the long ride tired us out weary stresses tiring until one is unable to endure more of the same thing. wearied of the constant arguing fatigue suggests great lassitude from excessive strain or undue effort. fatigued by the day's chores exhaust implies complete draining of strength by hard exertion. shoveling snow exhausted him jade suggests the loss of all freshness and eagerness. appetites jaded by overindulgence

Why are uniforms called fatigues?

Fatigue is a basic part of today’s vocabulary, but, surprisingly, only dates back to the mid-17th century in English. It’s not used even a single time by Shakespeare or in the King James Bible. It came to English from French and ultimately derives from the Latin verb fatigare, meaning “to tire out” or “to exhaust.” An earlier direct borrowing into English from Latin, fatigate, was used in the 1500s before disappearing (it’s now labeled obsolete in our dictionaries). Fatigue entered English first as a noun, then the verb (“the work fatigues me”) and adjective (“a fatigue detail”) came along. The noun was used to mean both “the state of being tired” and “labor,” “effort,” or “trouble”—a sense that seems old-fashioned today. Early uses of fatigue meaning “effort” or “labor” often were in military contexts:

the fatigue of our long march

the fatigues of war

the fatigues of a long journey

they no longer have fatigue without pay

toil and fatigue

These senses led to two military-specific uses of fatigue. First, it came to mean “manual or menial work performed by military personnel,” and then, consequently, “the uniform or work clothing worn on fatigue detail and in the field.” This is how fatigues came to mean “uniform” in the military. When your job seems to be all work and no play, even your clothes are tired.

Examples of fatigue in a Sentence

Noun We were overcome by fatigue after the long journey. The drug's side effects include headache and fatigue. soldiers wearing combat boots and fatigues The cracks in the engine were caused by metal fatigue. Verb the rescue workers pressed on, though their efforts to reach the miners had almost completely fatigued them
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One group experienced mainly respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and shortness of breath, plus fatigue and headaches. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Older patients, women and those with variety of early symptoms most at risk of 'long Covid,' paper suggests," 21 Oct. 2020 So far, Mutter has struggled with a persistent cough and lingering fatigue. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive, "Many coronavirus patients don’t know about or can’t access experimental treatments," 21 Oct. 2020 So far, Mutter has struggled with a persistent cough and lingering fatigue. Jonel Aleccia, NBC News, "Can ordinary Covid patients get the Trump treatment? It's OK to ask," 19 Oct. 2020 The control center was also found to be understaffed, causing controllers to suffer from fatigue and having to work several days in a row. Washington Post, "Metro selects new director for troubled operations control center," 17 Oct. 2020 Her mother, a 74-year-old former pastor, had begun to suffer from extreme fatigue and shortness of breath, symptoms uncharacteristic of a woman who did yoga and had always exercised. Casey Ross @caseymross, STAT, "From a small town in North Carolina to big-city hospitals, how software infuses racism into U.S. health care," 13 Oct. 2020 Boughton said younger residents might be suffering from COVID-19 fatigue, having parties, playing soccer or other sports in large groups or just generally not adhering to guidelines for social distancing or gatherings. Dave Altimari, courant.com, "Daily coronavirus updates: Danbury remains Connecticut’s COVID-19 capital, as positivity rate, hospitalizations tick up statewide," 23 Sep. 2020 Other patients have had blood clot issues and strokes, suffered from fatigue or mood disorders. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Robert Gehrke: The next few weeks of this pandemic may be rough. Focus on your loved ones.," 16 Sep. 2020 As well as creating variety, Loom can provide relief from back-to-back meetings and video conferencing fatigue. Cal Henderson, Quartz at Work, "Four tips on leading distributed (or semi-distributed) teams," 30 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The cough, wheezing or troublebreathing, headache, sore throat, and congestion, can all appear in eithercase, and so can fatigue. Mirel Zaman, refinery29.com, "Do I Have Autumn Allergies Or COVID-19?," 17 Sep. 2020 These techniques fatigue the muscles and therefore provide a sense of calm. Jamie Kiffel-alcheh, National Geographic, "Tricks to settle your fidgeters, wigglers, and fingernail biters," 9 Sep. 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 Lamanna said metal can fatigue over time, so that could have been an issue. Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, "What we know: Tempe Town Lake freight train derailment," 29 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatigue.' 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 fatigue

Noun

1669, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1693, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fatigue

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

French, from Middle French, from fatiguer to fatigue, from Latin fatigare; akin to Latin affatim sufficiently

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Learn More about fatigue

Time Traveler for fatigue

Time Traveler

The first known use of fatigue was in 1669

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Statistics for fatigue

Last Updated

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fatigue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatigue. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fatigue

fatigue

noun
How to pronounce fatigue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fatigue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the state of being very tired : extreme weariness
: the uniform that soldiers wear when they are doing physical work
technical : the tendency of a material (such as metal) to break after being bent or moved many times

fatigue

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fatigue (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (someone) tired

fatigue

noun
fa·​tigue | \ fə-ˈtēg How to pronounce fatigue (audio) \

Kids Definition of fatigue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a state of being very tired
2 fatigues plural : the uniform worn by members of the military for physical labor

fatigue

verb
fatigued; fatiguing

Kids Definition of fatigue (Entry 2 of 2)

: to tire by work or exertion a fatiguing hike

fatigue

noun
fa·​tigue | \ fə-ˈtēg How to pronounce fatigue (audio) \

Medical Definition of fatigue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : weariness or exhaustion from labor, exertion, or stress
2 : the temporary loss of power to respond induced in a sensory receptor or motor end organ by continued stimulation

fatigue

verb
fatigued; fatiguing

Medical Definition of fatigue (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to weary with labor or exertion
2 : to induce a condition of fatigue in (as an effector organ)

intransitive verb

: to be affected with fatigue : become weary

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Comments on fatigue

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