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

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

As Mueller elation fades to Mueller fatigue nearly four months after the report landed on Attorney General William Barr’s desk, why — and how — has the entertainment world’s appetite for the Mueller report reached a fevered pitch? Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "How the Mueller report became a live-theater summer sensation," 20 July 2019 Many make the mistake of trying to swim straight through the current, which can lead to fatigue and drowning. Scottie Andrew And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, "A dad saved his 8-year-old daughter's life before he drowned at a Florida beach," 11 July 2019 Perhaps some good will come of this if Hollywood learns (there’s a first time for everything) that audiences are not immune to franchise fatigue. Kenneth Turan, latimes.com, "Our film critics pick the best movies of 2019 (so far)," 5 July 2019 Even when the love and physical attraction is there, couples may give in to fatigue and fall asleep before intimacy can happen. Erinne Magee, Good Housekeeping, "Say Yes to the Early-Morning Date With These Daytime Date Ideas," 5 July 2019 Not even New Line's Annabelle Comes Home, the seventh outing in the Conjuring Universe was entirely immune to franchise fatigue. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Box Office Blues: 2019 Revenue Down Nearly 10 Percent Midyear," 1 July 2019 Monitoring for maintenance issues has improved as well: onboard sensors keep track of components known to be vulnerable to fatigue, and flag that part for inspection or replacement. Michelle Z. Donahue, National Geographic, "What is turbulence—and how can you calm down about it?," 12 June 2019 Elder music festivals have been feeling the heat with complaints of repetitive lineups, rising prices, and unruly campgrounds, but Bonnaroo is refusing to give in to the dreaded festival fatigue this year. Bailey Pennick, Fortune, "How Bonnaroo’s Elevated Campground Experiences Are Taking the Festival Beyond the Lineup," 12 June 2019 For some people, dark mode themes with especially high contrast might even contribute to fatigue and strain. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "Do You Really Need Dark Mode?," 8 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Never mind the Xs and Os if players are fatigued for the final 12 minutes. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Fall is in the air as Pasadena ISD’s football camps get to work in an urgent way," 7 Aug. 2019 The firefighters were cycled through to make sure they were not fatigued in the heat, Overton said. Shondiin Silversmith, azcentral, "Structure fire contained in south Phoenix; 60 firefighters responded," 10 June 2019 The dance and vocal arrangements by Peter Howard were especially enjoyable here, as numerous glowing, colorful jitterbugs interfered with the quartet’s journey in an attempt to fatigue them. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "REVIEW: Patio Playhouse presents charming ‘Wizard of Oz’ musical," 17 July 2019 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

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

14 Aug 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
: 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

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

a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!