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

The wall was a magnificent nightmare of black rock and blue ice, soaring straight up into oblivion. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "The Tragedy on Howse Peak," 28 Aug. 2019 She's been directed into oblivion here, Beth Ann a wounded ginger frump forced through too many broad and contrived moments, like accidentally getting naked just in time for her husband's boss to spy her through a window. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Why Women Kill': TV Review," 15 Aug. 2019 Let’s face it: the language enacts the ethos of the whiteness about to torment the novel’s central character into oblivion. The New Yorker, "Toni Morrison, Remembered By Writers," 10 Aug. 2019 The Giants return to San Francisco 56-56, same as last year after 112 games, when a mess of injuries and the Andrew McCutchen trade sent them toward oblivion. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants drop final 2019 game at Coors despite Donovan Solano’s power show," 4 Aug. 2019 The purchase catapulted Amazon near the top of the $700 billion grocery industry, and sank stocks of traditional grocers on fears that they would be outmaneuvered into oblivion. Karen Weise, New York Times, "Why Whole Foods Hasn’t Satisfied Amazon’s Grocery Appetite," 28 July 2019 Over days or weeks of refrigeration, the sauce ripens and matures as thorny aromas drift away, enzymes cut and trim sharp edges into smooth contours and soft nests of carbs convince bitter compounds to sink down into oblivion. Ali Bouzari, SFChronicle.com, "Housemade: The science behind a feast of flavor pairings at Kismet in Los Angeles," 12 July 2019 The received wisdom has long been that this march toward oblivion, once sufficiently advanced, cannot be reversed. Quanta Magazine, "Cellular Life, Death and Everything in Between," 8 July 2019 Matarazzo and Keery are a fun comedy duo, and Hawke turns out to be great, sparking with the other actors and laughing toward oblivion. Darren Franich, EW.com, "The ending of Stranger Things 3 proves the limits of nostalgia: EW review, with spoilers," 4 July 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

4 Sep 2019

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 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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