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[uh-bliv-ee-uh n] /əˈblɪv i ən/
the state of being completely forgotten or unknown:
a former movie star now in oblivion.
the state of forgetting or of being oblivious:
the oblivion of sleep.
the act or process of dying out; complete annihilation or extinction:
If we don't preserve their habitat, the entire species will pass into oblivion.
Archaic. official disregard or overlooking of offenses; pardon; amnesty.
Origin of oblivion
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin oblīviōn- (stem of oblīviō), equivalent to oblīv(īscī) to forget + -iōn- -ion; see ob-
Related forms
self-oblivion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for oblivion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His own public had unjustly neglected him, posterity consigned his operas to oblivion.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • Thenceforth, all these royal souvenirs had passed into oblivion.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • And do not cast in oblivion that at the last I obeyed your wish and brought you safely to Riolama.

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • And am I to be hurried along by this stream of corruption to infamy and oblivion!

  • But, Mr. Darnay, oblivion is not so easy to me, as you represent it to be to you.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for oblivion


the condition of being forgotten or disregarded
the state of being mentally withdrawn or blank
(law) an intentional overlooking, esp of political offences; amnesty; pardon
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin oblīviō forgetfulness, from oblīviscī to forget
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oblivion

late 14c., "state or fact of forgetting," from Old French oblivion (13c.) and directly from Latin oblivionem (nominative oblivio) "forgetfulness; a being forgotten," from oblivisci (past participle oblitus) "forget," originally "even out, smooth over, efface," from ob "over" (see ob-) + root of levis "smooth," from PIE *lei-w-, from root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (see slime (n.)). Meaning "state of being forgotten" is early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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