oblivion

noun
obliv·​i·​on | \ ə-ˈbli-vē-ən How to pronounce oblivion (audio) , ō-, ä-\

Definition of oblivion

1 : the fact or condition of not remembering : a state marked by lack of awareness or consciousness seeking the oblivion of sleep drank herself into oblivion
2 : the condition or state of being forgotten or unknown contentedly accepted his political oblivion … took the Huskers from oblivion to glory — and their two national championships …— D. S. Looney

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Did You Know?

Oblivion was derived via Middle English and Anglo-French from Latin oblivisci, which means "to forget." This form may have stemmed from combining ob- ("in the way") and levis ("smooth"). In the past, oblivion has been used in reference to the River Lethe, which according to Greek myth flowed through the Underworld and induced a state of forgetfulness in anyone who drank its water. Among those who have used the word this way is the poet John Milton, who wrote in Paradise Lost, "Farr off from these a slow and silent stream, Lethe the River of Oblivion roules Her watrie Labyrinth."

Examples of oblivion in a Sentence

The technology is destined for oblivion. The names of the people who lived here long ago have faded into oblivion. His theories have faded into scientific oblivion. Her work was rescued from oblivion when it was rediscovered in the early 1900s. After being awake for three days straight, he longed for the oblivion of sleep. She drank herself into oblivion. The little village was bulldozed into oblivion to make way for the airport.
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Recent Examples on the Web

After a lifetime of near-paralyzing panic, Rue eventually turns to drugs for just a few seconds of oblivion. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Euphoria Review: The Night Is Dark & Full Of Terrors (& Teens)," 5 June 2019 There are a few makeup mishaps that most beauty lovers have likely experienced at least once: A cat-eye smudged into oblivion, red lipstick all over your teeth, and — perhaps the most frustrating of all — self-tanner fails. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Woman Shares Foot Self-Tanner Fail," 17 Oct. 2018 If that much is clear, the question still remains: What then to do with all the music unheard, the careers swept into oblivion, the life stories so quickly forgotten? Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "Music from the shadows, being heard anew," 28 June 2018 The wealthy media owner is often presented as either a philanthropist stepping in to save a legacy brand from oblivion, or as an opportunist trying to launder their reputation and influence the political conversation in their favor. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Other Side of Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post," 27 June 2018 Some Caribbean cooks deep-fry fish escovitch to oblivion, on the theory that spicy vinegar heals all wounds. New York Times, "A Brooklyn Favorite for Jamaican Food Beats the Odds," 26 June 2018 Most Irish recipes involve boiling all the ingredients into oblivion, which means my first step was to buy a slow-cooker. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "St. Paddy’s Day Is Not Just About Day Drinking, It’s Also About Boiled Meat," 16 Mar. 2018 So all the matter waiting to get sucked into oblivion forms a line, which takes the form of a spinning disk. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How They Got the Black Hole Picture That Changed Science," 10 Apr. 2019 Yes, even the latter let her signature brows get bleached into oblivion. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, and Kaia Gerber Just Walked The Prada Runway Without Eyebrows," 22 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oblivion.' 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 oblivion

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for oblivion

Middle English oblivioun, borrowed from Anglo-French oblivion, obliviun, borrowed from Latin oblīviōn-, oblīviō "state of forgetting, dismissal from the memory," from oblīv-, stem of oblīvīscī "to forget, put out of mind" (from ob- "toward, facing" + -līvīscī, inchoative derivative of a stem līv- of uncertain meaning and origin) + -iōn-, -iō, suffix of action nouns formed from compound verbs — more at ob-

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Statistics for oblivion

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for oblivion

The first known use of oblivion was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for oblivion

oblivion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of oblivion

: the state of something that is not remembered, used, or thought about any more
: the state of being unconscious or unaware : the state of not knowing what is going on around you
: the state of being destroyed

oblivion

noun
obliv·​i·​on | \ ə-ˈbli-vē-ən How to pronounce oblivion (audio) \

Kids Definition of oblivion

1 : the state of forgetting or having forgotten or of being unaware or unconscious
2 : the state of being forgotten The tradition has drifted into oblivion.

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More from Merriam-Webster on oblivion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oblivion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oblivion

Spanish Central: Translation of oblivion

Nglish: Translation of oblivion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblivion for Arabic Speakers

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