1

fatigue

noun fa·tigue \ fə-ˈtēg \
Updated on: 19 Feb 2018

Definition of fatigue

1 a : 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
2 a : 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 a) or motor (see 2motor 1) end organ by continued stimulation
3 : the tendency of a material to break under repeated stress
  • metal fatigue

Examples of fatigue in a Sentence

  1. We were overcome by fatigue after the long journey.

  2. The drug's side effects include headache and fatigue.

  3. soldiers wearing combat boots and fatigues

  4. The cracks in the engine were caused by metal fatigue.

Recent Examples of fatigue from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of fatigue

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


2

fatigue

verb

Definition of fatigue

fatigued; fatiguing
transitive verb
1 : to weary with labor or exertion
2 : to induce a condition of fatigue in
intransitive verb
: to suffer fatigue

Examples of fatigue in a Sentence

  1. the rescue workers pressed on, though their efforts to reach the miners had almost completely fatigued them

Recent Examples of fatigue from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of fatigue

fatigue Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of fatigue

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

3

fatigue

adjective

Definition of fatigue

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

Origin and Etymology of fatigue


FATIGUE Defined for English Language Learners

fatigue

noun

Definition of fatigue for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of fatigue for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone) tired


FATIGUE Defined for Kids

1

fatigue

noun fa·tigue \ fə-ˈtēg \

Definition of fatigue for Students

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

2

fatigue

verb

Definition of fatigue for Students

fatigued; fatiguing
: to tire by work or exertion
  • a fatiguing hike

Medical Dictionary

1

fatigue

noun fa·tigue \ fə-ˈtēg \

medical Definition of fatigue

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

2

fatigue

verb

medical Definition of fatigue

fatigued; fatiguing
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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