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 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

This includes direct health problems like postorgasmic illness syndrome, in which men are struck with headaches and fatigue following ejaculation. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Strange Saga of the Butt Plug Turned Research Device," 11 July 2019 The bulletin notes that exposure between 200 and 400 parts per million can lead to slight headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea after two to three hours. Julia Thompson, USA TODAY, "46 people hospitalized after carbon monoxide exposure at Canadian hotel," 9 July 2019 Typical symptoms are a fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue and swelling of the salivary glands. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "7 cases of mumps confirmed at Harris County Jail, and there could be more," 13 June 2019 People who become infected with the disease have pneumonia-like symptoms, including fever, chills, headache, fatigue and confusion. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Kills One and Sickens 15 in Northern Manhattan," 11 Oct. 2018 Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches, fatigue, body or muscle aches, and fever (although not everyone who has the flu gets a fever). Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "The 2019 Flu Season May Be as Deadly as 2018's — Here's How to Prepare Yourself," 3 Oct. 2018 The first symptoms an infected person will notice include swelling of the bite, headache, fatigue, fever, body aches, and rash, according to the CDC. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "Disease Spread by Kissing Bug Could Become More Common in the U.S.," 21 Aug. 2018 That includes fever, joint pain, red eyes, headache, or fatigue. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s Exactly How to Treat Those Mosquito Bites All Over Your Body," 15 Aug. 2018 Symptoms of the fever include headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and joint pains — unusual symptoms in the summer months. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "West Nile Virus season has begun: 8 birds have tested positive in Sac County," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With my triceps and shoulders fatigued from the presses, and my legs tired from a movement other than flutter-kicking, my laps soon devolved from sprints into literal front crawls. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Getting out of the water puts fun twist on swim workout: Stretching Out," 11 July 2019 Leonard, looking fatigued, scored 27 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the clincher. New York Times, "The Raptors’ Journey to the Top of the N.B.A.," 14 June 2019 Stammen relishes accidental work Relievers say command is what suffers most when their arm is fatigued. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres Notes: Tatis not out, even when he is; Margot stays centered; Stammen steps up," 27 June 2019 And humans get fatigued, stressed, and confused, and end up making mistakes. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Death by algorithm: the age of killer robots is closer than you think," 21 June 2019 Your energy levels are lower, your leg muscles are fatigued, and your mind might be more focused on getting to the finish than the next step. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "14 Essential Hiking Safety Tips You Should Always Follow," 10 May 2019 Nishino made six changes to the starting lineup ahead of the match, saying some of his players were fatigued. Pan Pylas, chicagotribune.com, "Japan lose to Poland, advance on yellow cards," 28 June 2018 If you aren't fatigued by the leopard-print-midi-skirt madness, below are 13 to buy right now. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "Yeah, You Really Do Need a Leopard-Print Midi Skirt," 30 May 2019 Embiid was noticeably fatigued during key stretches this season, especially in the Eastern Conference semifinal series against Boston. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "For Sixers' Joel Embiid, a breakthrough summer ahead?," 18 May 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, 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

Statistics for fatigue

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

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
: 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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