Definition of oblivion in English:



mass noun
  • 1The state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening around one.

    ‘they drank themselves into oblivion’
    • ‘Brad only groaned once as Kurt and Vincent lifted him between them, and then the dark and painless unconscious oblivion claimed him again.’
    • ‘We were all too busy smoking dope, but even if we did drink it was never the full-on race to oblivion that happens today.’
    • ‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, let me sink into oblivion.’
    • ‘Drowsiness overcame her, and she crumpled to the floor, letting herself sink into dark oblivion.’
    • ‘James spent the next two days floating in and out of oblivion, completely unaware of his arrival in Amsterdam.’
    • ‘At some point he abandoned the family and drank himself into oblivion.’
    • ‘Even if I don't sink into oblivion, drifting near the verge allows my subconscious to bubble up and provide answers.’
    • ‘He is put in the car and driven to casualty, yet another client for the overworked hospital staff, yet another bed being taken up by a person who has drank themselves into oblivion.’
    • ‘So sleep is just this sort of period of oblivion that happens - that we're not conscious of at the time.’
    • ‘It's the freedom to drink yourself into oblivion.’
    • ‘As he beds a procession of desperate chorus girls and barmaids, his long-suffering wife, Phoebe, drinks herself into oblivion in their ramshackle bedsit.’
    • ‘When they do drink, though, they go for it; they will drink to oblivion and beyond, and the binges will get longer and the periods between shorter and more remorseful.’
    • ‘The darkness thickens, closes in on me, drawing me into these eyes, and my surroundings sink into oblivion.’
    • ‘I remember that night you came into Bailey's to drink yourself into oblivion after Katherine died.’
    • ‘The oblivion of unconsciousness was creeping up on her at its leisure, and she would make him regret murdering her too slowly.’
    • ‘He flung an arm across his face to shield off wakefulness, hoping to sink back into sweet oblivion.’
    • ‘But most famously he used to drink himself into oblivion.’
    • ‘She has revealed that, when she heard news of the affair, she drank herself into oblivion with friends.’
    • ‘Maybe you just sit in a corner and sink quietly into oblivion, snoring loudly for the rest of the evening.’
    • ‘Our sages teach us that our oblivion, our unawareness of the full ramifications of every harsh word and action, lasts only until the day of death.’
    unconsciousness, insensibility, stupor, stupefaction, senselessness, blankness, darkness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The state of being forgotten, especially by the public.
      ‘his name will fade into oblivion’
      • ‘These songs have set the trend for melody and have evoked the nostalgia, which was fading into oblivion.’
      • ‘While some of these games have retained popularity and are often played at a competitive level, there are many smaller games, which seem to have faded into oblivion.’
      • ‘Her voice, her message, had little appeal after the Second World War, and her name, once instantly recognized by all, faded into virtual oblivion.’
      • ‘He said many producers were neck-deep in debts and had faded into oblivion after producing a couple of films.’
      • ‘Last year this particular meet was not held, and had it not raced last weekend, the old favourite in the Tennant Creek sporting calendar could well have faded into oblivion.’
      • ‘This clearly didn't happen, and their choice then was whether the fade off into oblivion or whether to actually do something.’
      • ‘So yet another great album was destined to fade into oblivion, before being picked up on by a few musos, plundered for sounds and style, hailed in retrospect as a classic and finally reissued on CD.’
      • ‘As for 90 octane gasoline, there are strong indications that it will slowly fade into oblivion, hopefully unnoticed until it ceases to exist.’
      • ‘Sunaryo says his installation is just to remind us of the large scenario that feeds the acts of war and violence, without which the weapons industry would fade into oblivion.’
      • ‘While the old traditions still excite, craftspersons should be taught to cater to the contemporary market without which they will fade into oblivion.’
      • ‘Many coaches would have faded into assistant coach oblivion.’
      • ‘Conscious or not, this film is strong and will be remembered long after many other sweeter, more conventional favourites have faded into unobtrusive oblivion.’
      • ‘The immigrant recorded the urban culture in which he found himself; the native son preserved a rural world that was fading into oblivion.’
      • ‘This is great, comprehensive stuff, worth preserving as the laserdisc format fades into oblivion.’
      • ‘Filed away in studios or tucked deeply in the archives of a few public collections, these prints lapsed from obscurity into oblivion.’
      • ‘And as Rudy discovered during a visit, urgent help is needed to prevent them from fading into oblivion.’
      • ‘And like the unperfected Polaroid of a beginning we've forgotten, it should fade into oblivion in no time.’
      • ‘Perpetually regenerating, these ‘super stars’ never fade into oblivion, only becoming brighter and brighter.’
      • ‘For the unsuccessful ones, their ordeal simply fades into public oblivion.’
      • ‘To be sure, Hong Kong isn't about to fade into oblivion.’
      insignificance, inconspicuousness, unimportance, anonymity, lack of fame, lack of honour, lack of recognition, lack of renown, non-recognition, ingloriousness, limbo, twilight
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Destruction or extinction.
      ‘only our armed forces stood between us and oblivion’
      • ‘The star is not the dissolution of individualism into death and oblivion but the freezing of particularity into an eternal image of itself.’
      • ‘When I came to, four hours later, it occurred to me that I had gone through, but not experienced, the oblivion of death.’
      • ‘I had to start thinking about this at the age of eleven, and used to keep myself up for hours contemplating my own death and oblivion.’
      • ‘Lifting his hand, Shanza barely had time to wrap his blood-smeared fingers around the smooth shaft and yank before his knee collided with the ground and he sank into oblivion.’
      • ‘They will be killed and burned to ash, an eternal death, an absolute oblivion of which there is no return.’
      • ‘As she felt enough power ready to burst her hand body to oblivion and death.’
      • ‘He decided it didn't matter; he was nothing, if oblivion wished to claim him in his sleep then let it.’
      • ‘Democracy will make it's last fall into the oblivion of an Imperial corporate state bent on world destruction.’
      • ‘During the Ottoman conquest of the end of that century Perperikon has been conquered, destroyed and doomed to oblivion.’
      • ‘It feels as though I'm rescuing lives from oblivion, from utter destruction by the Garbage Truck of Fate.’
      • ‘Communion and oblivion, sex and death, the mystery can be revealed - but it can be revealed only as totally inexplicable.’
      • ‘As she died, he doomed her soul to oblivion and swept his hand over Sonaro.’
      • ‘Not until life and existence implode into oblivion, nothingness, will the fighting end.’
      • ‘Of course, there are also those who do not subscribe to any religious faith and who may believe that death leads to nothingness, oblivion.’
      • ‘They heard a great crashing and smashing of things before it gathered beyond the barricaded door breathing stillness and the chill of death and oblivion through the cracks in the door.’
      • ‘Somewhere out in eternity lie apocalypse and oblivion.’
      • ‘However, this can lead to a certain sort of oblivion, the void, if you will.’
      • ‘The world was spiralling into oblivion, to nothingness.’
      • ‘We were there to see what would have been the apocalypse, the oblivion, the end.’
      • ‘The next step is oblivion, sleepiness and coma.’
      obscurity, non-existence, limbo, void, vacuum, nothingness, nihility, nullity, extinction, anonymity, neglect, disregard
      View synonyms
  • 2Law
    historical Amnesty or pardon.

    reprieve, free pardon, general pardon, amnesty, exoneration, exculpation, release, acquittal, discharge
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin oblivio(n-), from oblivisci ‘forget’.