[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. obliteration,
  2. obliterative,
  3. obliterative bronchitis,
  4. oblivescence,
  5. obliviate,
  6. oblivious,
  7. oblong,
  8. oblongata,
  9. oblongly,
  10. obloquial

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 formsself-ob·liv·i·on, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oblivion

British Dictionary definitions for oblivion


/ (əˈblɪvɪən) /


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the state of being mentally withdrawn or blank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 for oblivion

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

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