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1. Exhaustion from excessive stress or strain, especially to a degree that one can no longer maintain a particular level of performance or dedication. People in this industry often work upwards of 70-hour weeks, so burnout tends to be pretty common.
2. One who is apathetic and unmotivated, especially an employee. We need to hire some hard workers and get rid of these burnouts who want to collect a paycheck for doing nothing.
3. slang A regular drug user or addict who displays the adverse effects of drug use, especially cognitive impairment. I swore I would never be a burnout like my older brother, so I refuse to try drugs of any kind. You can't dismiss these students just because they're burnouts—they clearly need help and guidance.

emotional burnout

Exhaustion from excessive emotional stress or strain, especially such that one can no longer maintain a particular level of performance or dedication. Therapists are especially prone to emotional burnout, given that they constantly provide support to people in their darkest and most difficult moments.
See also: burnout, emotional

spousal burnout

Exhaustion from excessive stress, most commonly due to taking care of one's spouse for a prolonged period of time. A: "Now that Dad has Alzheimer's, I'm really worried that Mom will start experiencing spousal burnout if she doesn't get some help at home." B: "Yeah, maybe we should hire a part-time nurse."
See also: burnout
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


1. n. a person who is ruined by drugs. Two burnouts sat on the school steps and stared at their feet.
2. n. someone no longer effective on the job. We try to find some other employment for the burnouts.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Residents will see additional smoke for the next few days as we conduct our burn-out operations," fire commander Chris Hoff said.
What he's not happy about are the warm-up bouts booked in by long-time mucker and trainer Gibson (Kenneth Cranham) as they are a bunch of burn-outs who are going to make the match look like a joke.
We colored our burn-outs with a touch of subtle green and gold.
As soon as the pageant contestants were out of sight, everyone turned around for more burn-outs.
Family hatchbacks are being raced against hired cars or even stolen ones, sports cars are doing double the speed limit around industrial estates and wheelspin contests are vying against tyre-destroying burn-outs.
Buncrana District Court heard how Caolan McDaid, 20, performed burn-outs to drive smoke into the car boot where the terrified animal cowered.
Events include a camper jump by stunt driver Brian Carson, a stunt show by Chris Morena, monter trucks, "Transaurus" - the car eating dinosaur, burn-outs, derbies and of course the school bus demolition.
And, unless you're into constant wheelies and burn-outs, the ultra- reliable bike won't cost a fortune to run.
The troubled singer, 26, has ballooned recently on a fast food diet, spurning burn-outs down the gym for blow-outs down the burger bar.
Like all good movie burn-outs, he's got a macho name (Jake), a liking for the hard stuff and loads of inner demons requiring the attention of a shapely blonde psychologist.
Geordie fans are used to end of season burn-outs. Remember the infamous squandering of a 12-point Championship lead in 1996?
Last weekend saw a record crowd of 138,000 watching dragsters doing burn-outs, RAF Tornados and Red Arrows dancing overhead, F1 drivers careering round the circuit and even Clive James wittily judging the Concours d'Elegance.
Joe knows that wherever The Eagles travel there'll still be rumours of fall-outs and burn-outs, but he insists the band is as strong as ever.