Share this entry

exhaustion Line breaks: ex|haus|tion
Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzɔːstʃ(ə)n/

Definition of exhaustion in English:


[mass noun]
1A state of extreme physical or mental tiredness: he was pale with exhaustion
More example sentences
  • The peak summer heat results in extraordinary mental and physical exhaustion, sleeplessness and occasionally depression.
  • Mental and physical exhaustion retards the growth of body and mind, and it often causes a psychosomatic illness.
  • 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.
extreme tiredness, overtiredness, fatigue, weariness, lack of energy, enervation, debilitation, debility, faintness, prostration, enfeeblement, lassitude;
Medicine inanition, asthenia
2The action of using something up or the state of being used up: the rapid exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Bahrain was the first Gulf Arab state to produce oil, in 1932, but its reserves are now near exhaustion.
  • In every case, it said finite reserves of these minerals were approaching exhaustion and prices would rise steeply.
3 Logic The process of establishing a conclusion by eliminating all the alternatives.
Example sentences
  • Euclid and Archimedes utilized two important techniques to prove theorems from their axioms: reductio ad absurdum arguments, and a method of exhaustion.
  • This argument from exhaustion is not conclusive.
  • 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).

Definition of exhaustion in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhɔːti
arrogantly superior and disdainful