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 a camp 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 After a few days of feeling feverish, his symptoms worsened into a terrible cough and fatigue, along with a loss of taste. USA Today, "Republican leaders beg 'knuckleheads' to stay safe as COVID cases soar in rural, red states," 16 Nov. 2020 Some of the most common COVID-19 symptoms include a fever, cough, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and muscle aches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Early COVID-19 Vaccines May Prevent Symptoms but Not the Infection, Dr. Fauci Says," 29 Oct. 2020 Even with Pence’s latest negative test, symptoms, including fever, cough and fatigue, may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jonathan Lemire, chicagotribune.com, "Trump aide says ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic’ while president scoffs at COVID-19 case numbers," 25 Oct. 2020 Even with Pence's latest negative test, symptoms, including fever, cough and fatigue, may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jonathan Lemire, Star Tribune, "Trump aide says 'we're not going to control the pandemic'," 25 Oct. 2020 The most common symptoms for COVID-19 are a high fever, chills, dry cough and fatigue. Robin Lloyd, Scientific American, "Coronavirus News Roundup, October 10-October 16," 16 Oct. 2020 The most common symptoms include fever, dry cough and fatigue. Natasha Khan And James Hookway, WSJ, "Trump Tests Positive for Covid: Here’s What Happens Next," 2 Oct. 2020 Both can give you a fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, stuffy nose, muscle pains, shortness of breath, and headaches. Sara Chodosh, Popular Science, "The COVID-19 pandemic is about to collide with flu season. Here’s what to expect.," 26 Aug. 2020 Symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of sense of taste or smell. Pamela Sanders, Houston Chronicle, "Back to school amid COVID-19 frequently asked questions," 20 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Garg says staring at screens also decreases eye movement, which can fatigue eye muscles that are accustomed to moving around instead of holding one position for a long time. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "Americans are concerned about blue light as screen time increases during pandemic. What experts say.," 13 Nov. 2020 As the pandemic wears on and fatigue over restrictions turn to anger, critics are quick to single out mixed messages from political leaders. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, "The Spin: In interview, Duckworth says she’d consider a Biden Cabinet spot if offered | Lightfoot on COVID-19 orders and mixed messages | Illinois at ‘crisis level’ with virus, Pritzker says," 13 Nov. 2020 The cough, wheezing or troublebreathing, headache, sore throat, and congestion, can all appear in eithercase, and so can fatigue. Mirel Zaman, refinery29.com, "Do I Have Autumn Allergies Or COVID-19?," 17 Sep. 2020 These techniques fatigue the muscles and therefore provide a sense of calm. Jamie Kiffel-alcheh, National Geographic, "Tricks to settle your fidgeters, wigglers, and fingernail biters," 9 Sep. 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020 The flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the front outboard seating positions may fatigue over time, causing the seat belt to not secure the occupant in the event of a crash. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for July 2-9," 10 July 2020

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

Time Traveler for fatigue

Time Traveler

The first known use of fatigue was in 1669

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Statistics for fatigue

Last Updated

1 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fatigue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatigue. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for fatigue

fatigue

noun
How to pronounce fatigue (audio)

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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