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[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.
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 forms
self-oblivion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for oblivion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That curtain of oblivion without rent or seam sinks again upon the visions of this past of mine.

    The Wanderer's Necklace H. Rider Haggard
  • Thenceforth, all these royal souvenirs had passed into oblivion.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Her novels Sab and Espatolino were popular in their day but are now fallen into oblivion.

  • We sank into oblivion until the calling-bell brought us to our feet.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • A long, precious hour was still ahead of them, rich in care-free pleasures and oblivion.

    The Song of Songs Hermann Sudermann
British Dictionary definitions for oblivion


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the state of being mentally withdrawn or blank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
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
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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
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