oblivion

noun
obliv·​i·​on | \ə-ˈbli-vē-ən, 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

Inside, some of the building’s gray hallways seem to stretch into oblivion. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla will live and die by the Gigafactory," 30 Nov. 2018 But the state should not be involved in legislating your oblivion. Fox News, "Trump lashes out at media in fiery attack," 30 Aug. 2018 Your words float off into oblivion and nobody hears them. Fox News, "Will Mueller get his presidential interview?," 8 Aug. 2018 Russia’s dreaded nuclear torpedo, designed to nuke entire coastal cities into oblivion and trigger tsunamis, has been sighted in tests at sea. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Nuclear Tsunami Apocalypse Torpedo is Named 'Poseidon'," 24 July 2018 This memento mori is an intrusion of tragedy into an otherwise deathless space, but the ghost is also a hopeful sort of figure who somehow manages to elude oblivion. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "What Donald Hall Understood About Death," 26 June 2018 By tweaking the way information appears on search pages, Google can already promote its own websites and banish competitors to digital oblivion. The Editorial Board, BostonGlobe.com, "The case for breaking up Google," 14 June 2018 Kalanick’s seemingly sly maneuver eventually led to allegations of intellectual-property theft, shady text messages, and the threat of legal oblivion. Nick Bilton, The Hive, "“Burn the Boats”: What Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook Are Really Beefing About," 2 Apr. 2018 The black hole has now claimed Dr. Hawking from his life on the boundary of oblivion. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Stephen Hawking Taught Us a Lot About How to Live," 14 Mar. 2018

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, from Anglo-French, from Latin oblivion-, oblivio, from oblivisci to forget, perhaps from ob- in the way + levis smooth — more at ob-, levigate

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Statistics for oblivion

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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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