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

Be sure to maintain proper form as your arm muscles fatigue. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "Jennifer Lopez's 8-Move Arm and Back Workout Is a Total-Body Challenge," 5 Oct. 2018 But there’s a chance that fatigue is giving bad investment advice. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Brexit Is a Buy for the Brave," 1 Oct. 2018 According to the Food and Drug Administration, symptoms of cyclosporiasis include severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, and fatigue. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "More Than 200 People Infected by Parasite Linked to Del Monte Vegetables," 8 July 2018 Oleson only had a limited number of takes to capture the whole coordinated effort on film, due to the inevitable fatigue of the actors and stuntmen. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Wilson Fisk is back and better than ever in season 3 of Daredevil," 12 Nov. 2018 Blood and fluid can also back up into your lungs, leading to fatigue and shortness of breath. Korin Miller, SELF, "13 Surprising Medical Conditions That Can Cause Weight Gain or Loss (and When to Go to the Doctor)," 12 Nov. 2018 Lupus is an autoimmune illness that manifests itself differently in each patient — in my case, the most pronounced symptoms are extreme fatigue, body pain, headaches, and photosensitivity. Caitlin Flynn, Allure, "7 Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone With a Chronic or Invisible Illness," 16 Oct. 2018 While push notifications and smartphone overuse can lead to a general internet fatigue, Flo had given me the thrill of indulging and validating my control freak tendencies. Julie Bogen, The Verge, "How period tracking apps helped me regain control after going off the pill," 23 Sep. 2018 The same dynamic held true with respect to fatigue and suicidal thoughts. Alan Mozes, CBS News, "Doctor burnout behind many medical errors, study finds," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

4 Dec 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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