What does the idiom "be worn out" mean?

The expression be worn out is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the be worn out idiom.

Meaning of "be worn out"


The phrase “be worn out” is an idiom that is used to describe a state of physical or emotional exhaustion. It is usually used to express a feeling of being … drained or worn down to the point of breaking. It can be applied to a person, thing, or situation, and indicates that the person, thing, or situation is no longer able to perform as it should or is expected to.


The phrase “be worn out” has been in use since the 1600s, although its exact origins are unknown. The word “worn” is an Old English term that means “frayed” or “worn out”, which likely had an influence on the phrase. It is likely derived from the German word “wehren”, which means “to wear away”. This word has since been incorporated into several other languages, including English.


The phrase “be worn out” is generally used to describe a feeling of extreme exhaustion or fatigue, both physical and mental. It can also be used to describe a thing or situation that has become overused or exhausted, like an automobile or an idea. It is often used in conversation among friends and family, as well as in written English.

Example Sentences

  • After a long day at work, I was completely worn out.
  • This old car is starting to get worn out – it's time to get a new one.
  • The team brainstormed for hours, but eventually their ideas began to get worn out.

The meanings of the words in the "be worn out" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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