1 of 2


wea·​ry ˈwir-ē How to pronounce weary (audio)
wearier; weariest
: exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness
: expressing or characteristic of weariness
a weary sign
: having one's patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted
used with of
soon grew weary of waiting
wearily adverb
weariness noun


2 of 2


wearied; wearying

intransitive verb

: to become weary

transitive verb

: to make weary

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Sick and Tired: The Literal and Figurative Meanings of Lassitude

Lassitude and weariness make an interesting pair. As with many nearly synonymous pairs of words in English, one is derived from Latin and the other from Old English. Even though they both mean “the condition of being tired,” they are used in different ways. Following a common pattern, the Latinate word tends to be used in technical, medical, and formal writing, and the Old English-derived word is used when referring to physical, emotional, and spiritual qualities.

Lassitude comes from the Latin word lassus, meaning “weary.” Our English spelling comes from the French word that developed directly from Latin, borrowed in the 15th century. In French, the word las (masculine) or lasse (feminine) means “weary” or “tired,” and the idiom être las de means “to be sick and tired of.” This led to another English word with the same root: alas, a word that expresses sadness or disappointment, but conveys some measure of fatigue and resignation as well.

Though it sometimes is just a fancy word for fatigue in medical contexts, lassitude is also used in ways that are metaphorical and closer in meaning to “negligence”:

Congress was being choked by pettiness and lassitude.

The case was delayed because of sheer lassitude.

The failure was the result of moral lassitude.

Choose the Right Synonym for weary

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

Examples of weary in a Sentence

Adjective I would remember the potential for return, all things circling as they do, into something like fullness, small moments of completion that weave together, like Penelope's cloth, doing and undoing themselves by turns, an unfinished pattern that guides a weary traveler home … Paul Sorrell, Parabola, May 2000
But for the wilted weeds that managed to jut forth in wiry clumps where the mortar was cracked and washed away, the viaduct wall was barren of everything except the affirmation of a weary industrial city's prolonged and triumphant struggle to monumentalize its ugliness. Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997
Every day for a week Ellsworth showed up to see Clarence and every day Miss Eunice and Mr. George Edward would exchange weary glances and shrugs … Randall Kenan, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, 1992
I need to rest my weary eyes. The miners were weary after a long shift. She was weary from years of housework. Verb What wearies me about Dickens, however, is his excessive use of words. Will Manley, Booklist, 1 Nov. 2006
I doubted what Indonesia now had to offer and wearied of being new all over again. Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father, (1995) 2004
Does it weary me to find some women of the next generation reinventing the wheel when it comes to planning their lives and dreaming of their romantic futures? Margo Jefferson, New York Times Book Review, 15 Apr. 2001
The work wearies me sometimes. these constant complaints are really wearying me See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Will a weary public be more interested this year? Sept. 13, 2023 Long COVID refers to a wide range of physical and mental health problems that persist four or more weeks after a coronavirus infection. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2023 The Hoxton, Amsterdam More than just a respite to rest your weary head, The Hoxton, Amsterdam is a place to see and be seen. Lindsay Cohn, Travel + Leisure, 12 Sep. 2023 Rachel addresses her sisters with the weary cautiousness of a hostage negotiator at the end of a tough day; Lyonne has never seemed so vulnerable. Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2023 The rural community Mahito is brought to a year later is made up mostly of the old, the infirm, and children, held together by weary volunteer labor. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 8 Sep. 2023 Suitcases can sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of the airport, and things can accidentally go missing when a travel weary flyer mistakes your bag for theirs at the luggage pickup. Lauren Wellbank, Woman's Day, 8 Sep. 2023 Under the noon sun on Tuesday, Gauff pounded a weary Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia into near oblivion, 6-0, 6-2, in just 68 minutes to become the first American teenager to reach the U.S. Open semifinal since Serena Williams in 2001. David Waldstein, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 Old House Gardens, a Michigan company that specializes in selling heirloom bulbs, has a list. Restore the lawn In many parts of the country, September is also the ideal time to restore a weary lawn or plant a new one. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2023 There was the weary shock from friends and family of Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29, all of whom almost immediately talked about his dedication to his 4-year-old daughter, Je Asia. Anna Betts, New York Times, 30 Aug. 2023
The men’s effort to continue lobbying for their innocence while reentering the workforce and reconnecting with their families and their city, Christopher Turner admits, is wearying. Joe Heim, Washington Post, 6 July 2023 But back then, my life reflected a culture that beats women down until they are wearied, frayed. Amanda Montei, ELLE, 6 Sep. 2023 Trying to round the Horn, the Wager ran into a series of storms, relentless onslaughts of gale-force winds, waves and rain in frigid temperatures that damaged ships and wearied men. Carl Hoffman, Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2023 Lateral reinforcement The Ukrainians seem, finally, to be working to foreclose the last option the Russians could try to relieve their wearying defenders—shifting forces from a dormant segment of the front line to an active segment. Karolina Hird, Time, 3 Aug. 2023 Kitao Sakurai, director of several of my favorite Dave episodes, conveys ample energy, but Twisted Metal quickly becomes wearying, overly proud of its rowdy tone without often doing anything audacious. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 July 2023 In my own reading experience, a book set entirely in (say) Helvetica is fine for a couple of pages but then becomes wearying to the eye. Curbed, 20 Jan. 2023 Notably, there’s very, very little in the way of wearying sarcasm or self-referential clutter here. Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 28 Apr. 2023 But observing Riley with such careful compassion — even Kristen Correll’s muted, de-glammed photography looks softened and slightly fuzzy, as though all its sharp edges have been put away — to the exclusion of everything else eventually becomes wearying, despite Eaton’s watchability. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 19 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'weary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective and Verb

Middle English wery, from Old English wērig; akin to Old High German wuorag intoxicated and perhaps to Greek aōros sleep

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of weary was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near weary

Cite this Entry

“Weary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weary. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
wea·​ry ˈwi(ə)r-ē How to pronounce weary (audio)
wearier; weariest
: worn out in strength, energy, or freshness
: showing or marked by weariness
: having one's patience, interest, or pleasure exhausted
weary of their attacks
wearily adverb
weariness noun


2 of 2 verb
wearied; wearying
: to become or make weary

More from Merriam-Webster on weary

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