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

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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

When the paddy fields dry, the clay soil is soft and spongy, a comfortable surface that eliminates end-of- day pain and fatigue. Rene Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Kybun Joya Shoes, sports collectibles, sushi, whiskey fill downtowns," 9 July 2018 Class is contaminated water and children with chronic pain and fatigue. Jedediah Purdy, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Class," 27 June 2018 More than two decades after her pro debut and seven years after being diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes pain and fatigue, Williams is still among the game’s elite. Sean Gregory, Time, "Venus Williams Is Still in the Game—On and Off the Court," 21 June 2018 So began Winnett’s medical odyssey that, 15 years later, would bring a successful disability claim for fibromyalgia, a medical condition characterized by muscle pain and chronic fatigue. Bill Lambrecht, Houston Chronicle, "Veterans Affairs chief’s firing hurt vets’ medical effort," 13 May 2018 So began Winnett’s medical odyssey that, 15 years later, would bring a successful disability claim for fibromyalgia, a medical condition characterized by muscle pain and chronic fatigue. Bill Lambrecht, San Antonio Express-News, "Gulf War Illness," 12 May 2018 Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and hemorrhaging can begin two to 21 days after exposure. Bukola Adebayo, CNN, "Ebola: Nigeria begins screening of travelers from high risk countries," 10 May 2018 The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating what caused the window to break and what caused the metal fatigue in the area where a fan blade broke off from one of the plane’s engines. Michael Boren, Philly.com, "Trump to meet crew of Southwest flight that made emergency landing in Philadelphia," 30 Apr. 2018 Due to his condition of sickle cell anemia, an illness which causes chronic pain and fatigue, Reyes takes opioid medications such as methadone and morphine. Johanes Rosello, ajc, "Nuestra Comunidad: Opioid epidemic kills more Latinos every year," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

My own writing fatigues me, while the other (Patience Worth’s) exhilarates me. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "This Month in Books: ‘What Used To Be Me Before the World Buried It’," 10 July 2018 Maybe this was just Darvish’s arm letting him know he was fatigued and needed a break. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Nine Innings: Three Players Limiting the Cubs, Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s Eruption and Ohtani's Filthy Splitter," 29 May 2018 My own writing fatigues me, while the other (Patience Worth’s) exhilarates me. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "This Month in Books: ‘What Used To Be Me Before the World Buried It’," 10 July 2018 This will be challenging and will fatigue the outer hip muscles, says Mansour. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "A Quick Equipment-Free Butt Workout From Celebrity Trainer Erin Oprea," 27 June 2018 But now Federer apologists are making excuses for his loss in Halle on the grounds that he was fatigued from playing too many matches at back-to-back grass tournaments. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: Is Current Form or Past Slam Performance a Better Indicator of Success in Majors?," 27 June 2018 The Red Wings were set to play in New Jersey on Monday night and might be fatigued Tuesday. Sam Carchidi, Philly.com, "Soaring Flyers take winning streak to Detroit," 22 Jan. 2018 In an interview about 1 a.m. the next day, Jones allegedly initially claimed that his wife, who had survived an earlier stroke, had been fatigued for four days. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, "'Help Me, Help Me,' Wife Says as Husband Is Allegedly Recorded Strangling Her to Death," 26 June 2018 The Multi-mode Extreme Travel Suspension (METS) system protects troops from a rough ride, smoothing it out so that soldiers aren’t fatigued by a difficult cross-country trip. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "DARPA Invents Wheels That Instantly Morph Into Triangular Tank Tracks," 25 June 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.

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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

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

Verb

see fatigue entry 1

Adjective

see fatigue entry 1

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Statistics for fatigue

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fatigue

The first known use of fatigue was in 1669

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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

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Comments on fatigue

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