fatigue

noun
fa·​tigue | \ fə-ˈtēg \

Definition of fatigue

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : labor
b : manual or menial work (such as the cleaning up of acamp 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But that leads to water retention, bloating and fatigue. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "A Guide to Surviving the Longest Flight in the World," 16 Oct. 2018 Other symptoms include intense fatigue and confusion. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Exactly Is Altitude Sickness?," 20 Dec. 2018 But Fonnesbeck, a 36-year-old Utah native with a creamy complexion and a chestnut bob, was plagued by fatigue and headaches. Jancee Dunn, Vogue, "Is Othorexia the Eating Disorder for the Digital Age?," 14 Dec. 2018 Plus, it can be accompanied by fatigue and exhaustion. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Here Are All The Signs That You Might Have Mono AKA “The Kissing Disease”," 29 Nov. 2018 Like any other sick time, a mental-health day can cover a range of problems, from simple fatigue or burnout to more serious problems like chronic depression or an anxiety disorder. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Benefits (and Risks) of the Mental-Health Day," 17 Dec. 2018 Other, more vague symptoms include chest tightness or pressure; fatigue; shortness of breath; sudden sweating; or pain that radiates to other parts of the body like the arms, jaw, shoulder, or neck. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Healthy, Experienced Runner Had a Heart Attack During the New York City Marathon," 10 Dec. 2018 Still, there are certain early pregnancy symptoms most people experience, such as a missed period, frequent urination, bloating, nausea, sore or enlarged breasts, and fatigue. Seventeen Editors, Seventeen, "How to Deal with a Pregnancy Scare," 28 Nov. 2018 The most common flu symptoms are fever (though not always), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, according to the CDC. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Flu Symptoms in Kids Come Suddenly, But You Can Act Fast If You Know What to Look For," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The danger is that Democrats by then may have fatigued the public even more. Ted Van Dyk, WSJ, "To Beat Trump, Get a Grip," 23 July 2018 If there is progress this season, the Premier League, perhaps, has happened on a happy medium, a competition that is challenging but not over-fatiguing. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Systemic or Specific? Reasons for Premier League Clubs' Champions League Fortunes," 15 Mar. 2018 Your legs will likely be fatigued by this point, says Brewer. SELF, "Strengthen Your Entire Body With This 8-Part Slam Ball Circuit from Pink’s Trainer," 12 Sep. 2018 Almost immediately, one of the moderators expressed a concern that echoed my thoughts: Are people going to start feeling fatigued by the conversation? Susanna Fogel, Glamour, "The Spy Who Dumped Me," 3 Aug. 2018 My own guess: By 2020, Mr. Trump will have fatigued the public. Ted Van Dyk, WSJ, "To Beat Trump, Get a Grip," 23 July 2018 Egypt's disappointing World Cup run plunged a nation already fatigued by economic hardship and political woes deeper into misery. Hamza Hendawi, chicagotribune.com, "Love for Mohamed Salah offers refuge from Egypt's World Cup exit," 26 June 2018 For example, do machine biceps curls immediately after pull-ups and dumbbell rows to really fatigue your biceps. K. Aleisha Fetters, SELF, "Yes, Weight Machines Can Absolutely Have a Place in Your Fitness Routine," 15 Apr. 2018 His side will be fatigued from the game and the four hour flight. SI.com, "Newcastle United vs Arsenal Preview: Team News, Form, Prediction & More," 14 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fatigue

Statistics for fatigue

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fatigue

The first known use of fatigue was in 1669

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fatigue

fatigue

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fatigue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the state of being very tired : extreme weariness

fatigues : the uniform that soldiers wear when they are doing physical work

: 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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fatigue

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

WORD OF THE DAY

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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