wear out

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wear out (third-person singular simple present wears out, present participle wearing out, simple past wore out, past participle worn out)

  1. To cause (something) to become damaged, useless, or ineffective through continued use, especially hard, heavy, or careless use.
    You're going to wear out that game if you keep playing so rough with it.
    He wears a pair of tennis shoes out every summer.
    • 1877, Anna Sewell, Black Beauty: [], London: Jarrold and Sons, [], →OCLC:
      "You never take the trouble to see if he will go without it; your whip is always going as if you had the St. Vitus' dance in your arm, and if it does not wear you out it wears your horse out; you know you are always changing your horses; and why? Because you never give them any peace or encouragement."
  2. (intransitive) To deteriorate or become unusable or ineffective due to continued use, exposure, or strain.
    The old tractor finally wore out.
    My shoes wear out quickly now that I walk to work.
    • 1942 September and October, “Notes and News: The Stanmore Branch”, in Railway Magazine, page 311:
      Mr. Simpson adds that the station at Stanmore appears practically unchanged from the time of its opening, even to the L.N.W.R. rubber doormat, which "shows no signs of wearing out."
  3. To exhaust; to cause or contribute to another's exhaustion, fatigue, or weariness, as by continued strain or exertion.
    You kids are wearing me out!
    Trying to keep up with politics wears me out.
    Our physical advantage allowed us to wear the other team out and win.
  4. (intransitive) To become exhausted, tired, fatigued, or weary, as by continued strain or exertion.
    I'm wearing out, guys. Time to go to sleep.
    • 2021 December 29, Stephen Roberts, “Stories and facts behind railway plaques: Lancaster (1860)”, in RAIL, number 947, page 58:
      They built our railways, but they wore themselves out in the process.
  5. Of apparel, to display in public.
    Those sweatpants are great for loafing around the house, but they're not meant to be worn out.
  6. Of a shirt, to not tuck into the pants; to wear in a casual manner.
    A dress shirt should be tucked in, but a t-shirt can be worn out.
  7. (chiefly Southern US) To punish by spanking.


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