Slang dictionary


[ bawr-out ]

What is boreout?

Boreout is an informal term for a state of dissatisfaction and demotivation that a person experiences due to being bored and unchallenged at work. It’s possible for the term to be applied in other contexts, such as school.

The term boreout is a play on burnout, which refers to the state of exhaustion or fatigue that results from overwork. In contrast, though, boreout is thought to result from not having enough challenging, stimulating, or meaningful work.

Experiencing boreout is thought to frequently lead to feelings of apathy and frustration as well as other negative effects.

Related words

National Slap Your Irritating Coworker Day, Great Resignation, hard pants, blue screen of death

Where does boreout come from?

image of woman with her head in her hand sitting at a desk at work, blue filter.

The term boreout is modeled on the earlier term burnout, which refers to a state of exhaustion or fatigue that a person experiences as a result of being overworked. Boreout instead includes the word bore, whose verb form means “to cause or affect with boredom.”

The term boreout is thought to have been coined by authors Philippe Rothlin and Peter R. Werder, who used it in the titles of two books published in 2007 and 2008 about the phenomenon, its effects on workers, and suggestions for how to avoid it.

The term saw increased usage in 2021 and 2022 as worker boredom and lack of motivation were sometimes cited as factors in the so-called Great Resignation.

While the term burnout is applied in many different contexts, including work, school, and in personal life, boreout is most commonly applied in the context of work. However, this may change as the term gains use.

Examples of boreout

I wish i could just quit my job. Its so boring and unchallenging... I will get boreout from it.
@RedQueen_KP, July 27, 2021
While burnout is linked to long hours, poor work-life balance and our glamourisation of overwork, boreout happens when we are bored by our work to the point that we feel it is totally meaningless.
Bryan Lufkin, BBC, July 4, 2021

Who uses boreout?

Boreout is most often used by those who study the workplace and issues affecting workers. Some people apply it to their own situation.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of boreout like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of boreout that will help our users expand their word mastery.