16 Synonyms To Describe Precisely How Exhausted You Feel

Summer is here and it is time to rest, relax, and recharge. For students and their parents, the beginning of summer break marks the end of a long, tiring school year. If you’re searching for the right word to describe how exhausted you feel, you’ve come to the right place.

🥱 What does exhausted mean?

The word exhausted is an adjective meaning “drained of strength or energy; worn-out.” The earliest meaning of the verb exhaust is “to draw off or out.” It was particularly used in reference to emptying air from something. So if you’re out of breath, or energy, you are exhausted. There are many other words to describe this feeling, though. Let’s take a look at some synonyms for exhausted.


A sophisticated synonym for exhausted is sapped, which means “drained of sap.” We typically think about sap as the sticky stuff in tree bark. However, sap can refer to “any vital body fluid” or “energy; vitality” more generally. Feeling sapped means to feel as if one has been drained of energy or life force.


The word drained can itself be used as a synonym for exhausted. The implication is that one has been drained of energy. Interestingly, the verb drain comes from the Old English drēhnian, meaning “to strain, filter.” It is related to the verb to dry. If you think about it, this connection makes sense: when you drain pasta, for example, you are drying it.


A slightly fancier term for drained is the adjective depleted, meaning “reduced” or “emptied.” Like the other terms we have looked at, depleted refers to the metaphor of being without life force or energy. The verb deplete comes from the Latin dēplētus, meaning “empty.”


In British slang, the word knackered has a variety of meanings, including “exhausted; very tired.” It comes from the verb knacker meaning “to tire.” The original meaning of the verb, however, was “to kill; to castrate.” To castrate? Well, knackers is an informal term for “testicles.”

Discover more British slang terms here!


An American slang term roughly equivalent to knackered is bushed, “exhausted; tired out.” According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, bushed is a reference to being tired “as if one had been wandering, lost, through the woods.” In other English dialects, bushed has different meanings. In Australian and New Zealand slang, for example, bushed can still mean someone is lost in the woods or, more figuratively, “lost; confused.”


Yet another slang term that is a synonym for exhausted is frazzled, meaning “worn-out; fatigued.” Like knackered and bushed, this is an informal expression. The word frazzle literally means “to wear to threads or shreds.” It comes from a combination of two verbs: fray and Middle English fazzle, meaning “to unravel.”


One of the most informal words on this list is zonked, meaning “exhausted or asleep.” This slang term was originally used to mean “stupefied by or as if by alcohol or drugs; high.” When used as a verb to mean “asleep,” zonked is paired with the preposition out, as in He zonked out on the couch with the television still on.


Another highly informal slang expression is pooped, meaning “fatigued; exhausted.” This is an Americanism of unknown origin; however, it may be connected to the meaning of poop in the sense of “excrement.” This slang term is surprisingly old. In 1928, Ernest Hemingway wrote to fellow author F. Scott Fitzgerald, “I have never been able to write longer than two hours myself without getting utterly pooped.”


Yet another slang expression for “exhausted” is kaput, which means “ruined; done for; demolished” or “unable to operate or continue.” The origin of the word comes from the formerly popular French card game of piquet. Kaput comes from être capot, a French expression meaning “no tricks” or no points in a hand of piquet.


There are a number of obscure or archaic synonyms for exhausted in addition to all the slang terms we have looked at. One such word is effete, which can mean “exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out.” More typically, this word is used to mean “lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent.” It comes from the Latin effēta, meaning “exhausted from bearing [young].”


While summer is a time to recharge, there is no denying that hot weather can make one lethargic. Lethargic means “drowsy; sluggish; apathetic.” This particularly refers to the form of exhaustion when one is sleepy and low on energy. The word lethargic ultimately shares a root with the name of the river Lethe from classical mythology, “a river in Hades whose water caused forgetfulness of the past in those who drank it.”


An obscure synonym of lethargic is hebetudinous. The noun hebetude [ heb-i-tood ] means “the state of being dull; lethargy.” Hebetudinous is the adjectival form of hebetude. The word comes from the Late Latin hebetūdō, meaning “dullness, bluntness.”


Another less-common term for exhaustion is jaded. You may be familiar with jaded in the sense of “dissipated” or “dulled or satiated by overindulgence.” However, another meaning of jaded is “worn out or wearied, as by overwork or overuse.” This sense of jaded is connected to the meaning of jade in the sense of “a worn-out, broken-down, worthless, or vicious horse.”

Jade is also a color of green. Read about it and other shades of green here.


The word languid [ lang-gwid ] has a variety of meanings, including “dropping or flagging from weakness or fatigue; faint.” This is close to the literal meaning of the word; it comes from the Latin languidus, “faint.” The word languid shares a common root with the verb languish, “to be ignored” or “to undergo neglect.”


A more informal synonym for languid is sluggish, “indisposed to action or exertion; lacking in energy; lazy; indolent.” As you may have guessed, sluggish literally translates to “slug-like.” After all, slugs are known for moving slowly (as well as for being sticky and a little gross).


If you haven’t slept in a while, you might feel bleary. Bleary has a variety of meanings, including “fatigued; worn-out.” However, most often bleary is used in the sense “(of the eye or sight) blurred or dimmed, as from sleep or weariness.” The related obscure adjective blear means “(of the eyes) dim from tears.”

This quiz will stifle your yawns

If you’re not worn-out yet, you can check out our quiz on all of these synonyms of exhausted here. Need a refresher? You can review all of the terms on our word list here.

You need a break. Why not try one of these terms for "staycation"?

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