Definition of fatigue in US English:


nounPlural fatigues

  • 1Extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.

    ‘he was nearly dead with fatigue’
    • ‘You should also be aware of the increased fatigue associated with this transition.’
    • ‘Other medical conditions can cause extreme fatigue or changes in appetite and sleep.’
    • ‘Symptoms of hepatitis include chronic fatigue and liver problems.’
    • ‘Two major causes of premature fatigue during exercise are dehydration and carbohydrate depletion.’
    • ‘Sleepiness and fatigue can affect physical and mental capabilities to perform at safe levels.’
    • ‘Even so, the job saps the vitality, and a referee gets mental fatigue as well as physical.’
    • ‘Eventually fatigue overtook my body, and I knew it was time to stop.’
    • ‘It is characterised by overwhelming mental and physical fatigue accompanied by a wide range of other symptoms.’
    • ‘A 75-year-old man was evaluated for unexplained chronic fatigue, lethargy, and weight loss.’
    • ‘The symptoms of this illness were excessive physical fatigue, inability to concentrate, and an unwillingness to eat or drink.’
    • ‘According to research, drivers aged under 30 are most likely to be affected by driver fatigue.’
    • ‘There are different kinds of fatigue associated with cancer therapies.’
    • ‘Throughout the ordeal, Crystal experienced severe fatigue, nausea and weight loss.’
    • ‘Caffeine prevents mental and physical fatigue by blocking receptors that notify the brain of low energy levels.’
    • ‘Her first patient of the day was on thyroid replacement but continued to experience chronic fatigue and lack of energy.’
    • ‘This can cause a person to experience physical fatigue, along with mental fogginess, difficulty in concentrating, and dullness of the mind.’
    • ‘So often one hears of driver fatigue being the cause of extremely serious accidents.’
    • ‘But a critical distinction needs to be drawn between physical and mental fatigue.’
    • ‘The risk factors associated with unexplained fatigue were no different from those associated with cognitive symptoms or unexplained musculoskeletal complaints.’
    • ‘Research shows that driver fatigue is a factor in approximately 25 % of all accidents on motorways and trunk roads.’
    tiredness, weariness, exhaustion, overtiredness
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    1. 1.1 A reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.
      • ‘The frequency of frank respiratory muscle fatigue in acute asthma is unknown, but is probably low.’
      • ‘Increased muscle creatine also buffers the lactic acid produced during exercise, delaying muscle fatigue and soreness.’
      • ‘She cited severe leg fatigue as the reason for limitation of exercise.’
      • ‘The sensations of dyspnea and muscle fatigue were measured at rest and immediately after exercise on a 10-cm visual analog scale.’
      • ‘Glutamine helps to prevent muscle fatigue, thus allowing you to rip out more reps.’
      • ‘The authors conclude that leg effort and fatigue of the quadriceps are infrequent after walking in patients with COPD.’
      • ‘Respiratory muscle fatigue develops when demand for energy exceeds the supply of energy.’
      • ‘Everything ached all of a sudden, muscle fatigue setting in at last from dragging Rob halfway around the city.’
      • ‘Acute pancreatitis and fatigue of the diaphragm muscle are also associated with damage caused by ROS.’
      • ‘Clearly, these patients were limited in their exercise tolerance by fatigue of their muscles of ambulation.’
      • ‘This could make the inspiratory muscles vulnerable to the development of muscle fatigue.’
      • ‘Subjects rated perceived symptoms of breathlessness and muscle fatigue at the end of the test.’
      • ‘This study was not intended to investigate the cause of muscle fatigue in COPD.’
      • ‘A key problem in many patients with respiratory failure requiring intubation is fatigue of respiratory muscles.’
      • ‘The remaining patients complained of leg fatigue as the predominant symptom limiting exercise.’
      • ‘What are the best tests for assessing respiratory muscle fatigue?’
      • ‘Resistance to fatigue of this muscle group was also enhanced.’
      • ‘In contrast, the increase in the sensation of muscle fatigue was high.’
      • ‘Thus, in patients with severe airway obstruction, inspiratory muscle fatigue may limit exercise performance.’
      • ‘Some patients could have stopped exercising due to nonventilatory reasons, such as leg muscle fatigue.’
    2. 1.2with modifier A lessening in one's response to or enthusiasm for something, typically as a result of overexposure to it.
      ‘museum fatigue’
      • ‘Might the increase in the number of elections and referendums have induced election fatigue?’
      • ‘Your senses become better attuned to art when the light is fresh; you are less subject to museum fatigue.’
      • ‘How will the parties defeat election fatigue and boost declining turn-out numbers?’
      • ‘He revealed a bit of fundraiser fatigue in response.’
      • ‘Second, many of those voters develop election fatigue and begin to tune out much of the information.’
      • ‘Even now a certain amount of election fatigue is beginning to set in.’
      • ‘The news from Lone Star Park, Texas is that all is well, and that the local media, doubtless suffering from presidential election fatigue, is lapping her up.’
      • ‘The Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca is in a former monastery and a wander around the airy cloisters or in the excellent cacti garden offer a respite from any cases of museum fatigue.’
      • ‘It's the sitting-down equivalent of museum/gallery fatigue, that special ailment of travellers everywhere.’
  • 2Weakness in materials, especially metal, caused by repeated variations of stress.

    ‘metal fatigue’
    • ‘However, we're close to the limit in terms of metal fatigue and durability.’
    • ‘Engineers have also been looking at the threat of lightning, metal fatigue and noise.’
    • ‘It seems that the cause of the stirrup breaking was either metal fatigue or some manufacturing defect.’
    • ‘Investigators said the fatigue cracks on the planes that crashed were confined to the wing structures.’
    • ‘The procedures for applying these methods of analysis to the determination of the fatigue limit have been well established.’
    • ‘Metal fatigue is one concern, damage incurred during liftoff is another.’
    • ‘Sunlight provides the necessary heat, and metal fatigue and design imperfections make the tracks more malleable.’
    • ‘The children don't know anything about metal fatigue, turbulence, and mid-air collisions.’
    • ‘There is evidence of significant metal fatigue damage to the rails in the vicinity’
    • ‘Energy from the magnet is designed to elongate the atoms in the clubface, deterring metal fatigue and strengthening the face.’
    • ‘Slip bands have been observed at stresses below the fatigue limit of ferrous materials.’
    • ‘If inappropriately sized, the fasteners can suffer metal fatigue leading to structural failure.’
    • ‘The fatigue properties of metals are quite structure-sensitive.’
    • ‘Nearly complete elimination of inclusions by vacuum melting produces a considerable increase in the transverse fatigue limit.’
    • ‘But, the pistol is 62 years old, and metal fatigue sets in after a while.’
    • ‘The spar had actually twisted as a result of metal fatigue and failure.’
    • ‘That along with corrosion and metal fatigue cased the bridge to fail.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, metal fatigue kept causing it to crash.’
  • 3fatiguesMenial non-military tasks performed by a soldier, sometimes as a punishment.

    • ‘When they were not performing work fatigues or training, soldiers were instructed during the time spent in the rear areas.’
    menial work, drudgery, chores, donkey work
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    1. 3.1 A group of soldiers ordered to perform menial, nonmilitary tasks, sometimes as a punishment.
  • 4fatiguesLoose-fitting clothing, typically khaki, olive drab, or camouflaged, worn by soldiers.

    ‘battle fatigues’
    • ‘Dozens of young troops in military fatigues marched in formation and conducted a series of calisthenic drills and martial-arts exercises at an abandoned dirt lot.’
    • ‘She's become accustomed to the sound of fire engines and the sight of soldiers in fatigues searching vehicles.’
    • ‘The figure is wearing military fatigues over a black shirt and a black and white checked scarf wrapped around his head.’
    • ‘He is decked out with the standard dictatorial outfit of military fatigues and large cigar.’
    • ‘When they finally parted 10 years later she was dressed in ‘military fatigues and working as an anthropologist on an Aboriginal island’.’
    • ‘She looked Indian, and had on green camouflage fatigues.’
    • ‘After dinner, Roger appeared in military fatigues, complete with hat, sunglasses, jackboots, and swagger stick.’
    • ‘The whole army was dressed in old British army fatigues from World War II, which gave the situation a surreal cinematic air.’
    • ‘He had on dark combat boots, green fatigues, and had a big black machine gun in his hand.’
    • ‘The soldier had changed wardrobe and discarded his old army fatigues for good.’
    • ‘And he was wearing old army fatigues and combat boots.’
    • ‘Some of the soldiers' fatigues were splashed in blood and filth.’
    • ‘One evening in Cusco, a group of revolutionary militants clad in army fatigues came to the meeting.’
    • ‘On the outskirts of town, soldiers in fatigues continued to focus on their search.’
    • ‘He was wearing his snug army t-shirt, baggy fatigues and combat boots.’
    • ‘The battery-operated doll comes complete with walkie-talkie and a wardrobe choice of military fatigues or bolero jacket and gold trousers.’
    • ‘We also used to wear gunnery qualification badges on our fatigues.’
    • ‘He turned to see a figure dressed in faded military fatigues.’
    • ‘Seated next to me in the lounge was a group of soldiers dressed in battle fatigues.’
    • ‘Soldiers in camouflage fatigues and painted faces also carried heavy artillery to provide protective fire power in the event of a genuine security threat.’
    khakis, camouflage clothing, camouflage gear
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verbfatigues, fatiguing, fatigued

[with object]
  • 1Cause (someone) to feel tired or exhausted.

    ‘they were fatigued by their journey’
    • ‘If you give up easily when you're fatigued, we'll notice that, too.’
    • ‘So all of a sudden he is too fatigued to make the same tackle he made in the first half.’
    • ‘But if you are fatigued, be prepared to face the reality that we are all overworked, overstressed and overbooked.’
    • ‘These are the same symptoms fatigued drivers face each minute longer they stay on the road than necessary.’
    • ‘I was fatigued and all I wanted to do was get out of here.’
    • ‘We were a bit fatigued before the quarter-final after all the hard training we have done.’
    • ‘There are other categories, but it fatigues me to list them.’
    • ‘He was working nonstop and he was very fatigued.’
    • ‘I simply tend to forget how fatigued normal people can become.’
    • ‘But if you are fatigued and have low energy, I think you can really affect how you feel by how you eat.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter who you are, how strong, how smart, how fast - if you get fatigued you are exponentially raising your chances of being in a car accident.’
    • ‘I wasn't fatigued, of course; I actually was a very fit individual.’
    • ‘It doesn't make much sense to train hard when you are fatigued.’
    • ‘I am always fatigued, my body shakes and sweats.’
    • ‘It's true - you are unbelievably fatigued after one of his slow-count sessions and feel more than justified in taking the extra days to recover.’
    • ‘Keep your movement throughout each set continuous, then rest a normal amount of time (up to about a minute) between sets, even if you are not fatigued.’
    • ‘Try one, and you'll notice that you can become totally fatigued from just one exercise.’
    • ‘This considered, I felt slightly frustrated by the fact our opening league game was having to be played by pretty fatigued players.’
    • ‘A headache like that can really fatigue a person.’
    • ‘It was either this or he was fatigued due to a long day and some inclement weather, which meant that he could not physically take this bend.’
    tire, tire out, exhaust, wear out, drain, make weary, weary, wash out, tax, overtax, overtire, jade, make sleepy
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    1. 1.1 Reduce the efficiency of (a muscle or organ) by prolonged activity.
      • ‘My only concern is that you find the ideal weight/rep combination that allows you to optimally fatigue the target muscle in the shortest time.’
      • ‘Muscle glycogen breakdown leads to lactic acid production, which fatigues the muscle.’
      • ‘My legs are cramped and my muscles are fatigued.’
      • ‘Do three sets of 15-20 reps with weights heavy enough to fatigue your muscles within the suggested rep range.’
      • ‘If you can do 12 reps without fatiguing your target muscles, increase the weight by 2-5 percent rather than doing additional reps.’
      • ‘Adding weight, like a medicine ball, to your exercises is an effective way to fatigue your muscles, he adds.’
      • ‘Perform each exercise in perfect form with a weight heavy enough to fatigue the muscle in just a few repetitions.’
      • ‘If your smaller muscles are fatigued, they can't provide the necessary help.’
      • ‘Just make sure you use weights that are heavy enough to fatigue your muscles after eight to 12 repetitions.’
      • ‘Do these exercises at the end of your regular strength-training workout because you will fully fatigue your abs performing these exercises.’
      • ‘Three well-planned exercises performed properly will always fully fatigue the triceps.’
      • ‘Whereas only 1 of the 12 patients fatigued their quadriceps after an ISW, two thirds of the same patients did so after incremental cycling.’
      • ‘Always use enough weight to fatigue your muscles by the final rep of each set.’
      • ‘Lifting heavier weights will tone your muscles while fatiguing them in the process.’
      • ‘In mild cases it may be necessary to fatigue the symptomatic muscle.’
      • ‘If your midsection muscles don't feel fatigued by the final rep of each set, your form may be to blame.’
      • ‘If I have a little bit of energy left at the end of my workout, I'll do something like a drop set for my shoulders and really fatigue the muscle.’
      • ‘Remember, fatiguing the muscle isn't the point; building explosive power for optimal recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fibers is.’
      • ‘Doing more reps will only fatigue your muscles, which will decrease your speed and place you at greater risk for injury.’
      • ‘If you truly fatigue a muscle during your workout, then it should require about a week to recuperate adequately before training it again.’
  • 2Weaken (a material, especially metal) by repeated variations of stress.

    • ‘Repeated stretching and sizing fatigues the brass to the point where it will eventually split, but I restrict things a little more.’
    • ‘Given the thin faces of today's drivers, how long does a driver last before the metal becomes fatigued?’
    • ‘It's steel, so it doesn't fatigue, rust or corrode.’
    • ‘Have you ever bent a piece of metal back-and-forth until it fatigues and breaks?’
    • ‘For carbon forks in general, there should not be any limited life span, as carbon composites themselves are not subject to fatigue failures as metals are.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘task that causes weariness’): from French fatigue (noun), fatiguer (verb), from Latin fatigare ‘tire out’, from ad fatim, affatim ‘to satiety or surfeit’.