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[in-uh-nish-uh n]
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  1. exhaustion from lack of nourishment; starvation.
  2. lack of vigor; lethargy.
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Origin of inanition

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin inānitiōn- (stem of inānitiō). See inane, -ition
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for inanition


  1. exhaustion resulting from lack of food
  2. mental, social, or spiritual weakness or lassitude
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Word Origin

C14: from Late Latin inānītio emptiness, from Latin inānis empty; see inane
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

Word Origin and History for inanition


c.1400, from Old French inanition, from Latin inanitionem (nominative inanitio) "emptiness," noun of action from past participle stem of inanire "to empty," from inanis "empty, void, worthless, useless," of uncertain origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inanition in Medicine


  1. Exhaustion, as from lack of nourishment or vitality.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.