Definition of exhaustion in US English:



  • 1A state of extreme physical or mental fatigue.

    ‘he was pale with exhaustion’
    • ‘The combat life of this famous pilot was not the fanciful image of an undaunted superhero but one of considerable physical and mental exhaustion as well as trauma.’
    • ‘Steve was napping frequently, though I think it may have been photo trip fatigue rather than physical exhaustion.’
    • ‘She will demonstrate how to resolve problems such as anxiety, mental exhaustion, digestive and skin problems using herbs.’
    • ‘He was unable to speak from exhaustion, physical pain and mental anguish.’
    • ‘Mental and physical exhaustion retards the growth of body and mind, and it often causes a psychosomatic illness.’
    • ‘Physical exhaustion contributes to errors of judgement, just as machine fatigue contributes to breakdowns and malfunctions.’
    • ‘They've played before and are a perfect match when it comes to energy levels and desire to terrorize the other until both have passed out from mental exhaustion.’
    • ‘The peak summer heat results in extraordinary mental and physical exhaustion, sleeplessness and occasionally depression.’
    • ‘Supreme confusion warred with mental exhaustion for dominance over her visage.’
    • ‘The medical costs of caring for him and the mental anxiety and exhaustion of living with him finally overwhelmed her.’
    • ‘Nothing is worse than chronic irritability, a feeling of exhaustion and mental fatigue.’
    • ‘What was most striking about the run-up to the peace deal was the morbid fixation on the physical and mental exhaustion of the parties.’
    • ‘It was as though her mental exhaustion had infiltrated her physical being.’
    • ‘After five weeks in combat these soldiers sunk into a state of extreme exhaustion and lassitude.’
    • ‘But when things are liberated, they pass into extreme forms and exhaustion, culminating in a new kind of imprisonment.’
    • ‘With burnout, the professional loses the ability to cope with daily life as a function of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.’
    • ‘In the light of an electric bulb dazzling at a distance, you try to study his face for signs of exhaustion - physical as well as emotional.’
    • ‘Naturally, such acute physical exhaustion has a direct mental parallel.’
    • ‘Jengo was finding it hard to catch up with Shi, due to extreme exhaustion.’
    • ‘The American star admitted herself to hospital late on Wednesday, suffering from extreme exhaustion.’
    extreme tiredness, overtiredness, fatigue, weariness, lack of energy, enervation, debilitation, debility, faintness, prostration, enfeeblement, lassitude
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  • 2The action or state of using something up or of being used up completely.

    ‘the rapid exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves’
    • ‘It is the world's largest violin playing just for the exhaustion of our natural resources.’
    • ‘This egg quality decline was attributed to the exhaustion of lipid and protein reserves required to produce viable eggs.’
    • ‘Bahrain was the first Gulf Arab state to produce oil, in 1932, but its reserves are now near exhaustion.’
    • ‘He decided to make a precautionary landing on an interstate highway as his fuel supply neared exhaustion.’
    • ‘Of course, at high levels, geographic concentration of organizations may signal intense localized competition and exhaustion of resources.’
    • ‘In essence, imperial overstretch demonstrates how America's ongoing exhaustion of its economic resources undermines important national security objectives.’
    • ‘Government policy of granting very small claims gave everyone a chance, but also led to rapid exhaustion of claims and large rushes to new fields.’
    • ‘MacLean briefly discusses the exhaustion of southern soils.’
    • ‘The exhaustion of a deposit, the discovery of new reserves, civil war, a change in government, or a new trade agreement can affect supplies.’
    • ‘The collapse of complex societies follows exhaustion of resources, climatological change and/or increasing levels of entropy.’
    • ‘As the stock of the DAT nears exhaustion, perhaps we should be considering a CD version.’
    • ‘At last, farmers escaped from the vicious trade-off between soil exhaustion and leaving land idle.’
    • ‘Each day, populations alternated between active growth and nutrient exhaustion.’
    • ‘The practice of burning stubble in the cereal region also increased soil exhaustion.’
    • ‘In every case, it said finite reserves of these minerals were approaching exhaustion and prices would rise steeply.’
    • ‘Any treatment that can improve the healing of pressure ulcers will be beneficial in preventing the exhaustion of medical resources.’
    consumption, depletion, using up, expenditure
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  • 3Logic
    The process of establishing a conclusion by eliminating all the alternatives.

    • ‘This result, discovered by a heuristic argument, can be converted into a rigorous proof by using the method of exhaustion or integration.’
    • ‘This argument from exhaustion is not conclusive.’
    • ‘Euclid and Archimedes utilized two important techniques to prove theorems from their axioms: reductio ad absurdum arguments, and a method of exhaustion.’
    • ‘This would be an improvement on Antiphon's argument and Bryson is getting close to the method of exhaustion as rigorously applied by Archimedes.’
    • ‘Maclaurin appealed to the geometrical methods of the ancient Greeks and to Archimedes' method of exhaustion in attempting to put Newton's calculus on a rigorous footing.’


Early 17th century: from late Latin exhaustio(n-), from Latin exhaurire ‘drain out’ (see exhaust).