[ burn-out ]
See synonyms for burnout on Thesaurus.com
  1. a fire that is totally destructive of something.

  2. Also burn-out . fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.

  1. Rocketry.

    • the termination of effective combustion in a rocket engine, due to exhaustion of propellant.

    • the end of the powered portion of a rocket's flight.

  2. Electricity. the breakdown of a lamp, motor, or other electrical device due to the heat created by the current flowing through it.

Origin of burnout

First recorded in 1900–05; noun use of verb phrase burn out

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use burnout in a sentence

  • To this end she buried him in fire by night to burn out his human elements, and anointed him with ambrosia by day.

    The Science of Fairy Tales | Edwin Sidney Hartland
  • At length they attempted to set the thicket on fire, hoping thus to burn out their foes.

    Christopher Carson | John S. C. Abbott
  • A short circuited coil will heat excessively and eventually burn out.

British Dictionary definitions for burn out

burn out

  1. to become or cause to become worn out or inoperative as a result of heat or friction: the clutch burnt out

  2. (intr) (of a rocket, jet engine, etc) to cease functioning as a result of exhaustion of the fuel supply

  1. (tr; usually passive) to destroy by fire

  2. to become or cause to become exhausted through overwork or dissipation

  1. the failure of a mechanical device from excessive heating

  2. a total loss of energy and interest and an inability to function effectively, experienced as a result of excessive demands upon one's resources or chronic overwork

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with burnout


Stop functioning because something, such as fuel, has been used up. For example, There's nothing wrong with the lamp; the light bulb just burned out. [Late 1300s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.