Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The condition or quality of being completely forgotten: "He knows that everything he writes is consigned to posterity (oblivion's other, seemingly more benign, face)” ( Joyce Carol Oates).
  • n. The act or an instance of forgetting; total forgetfulness: sought the great oblivion of sleep.
  • n. Official overlooking of offenses; amnesty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of forgetfulness or distraction.
  • n. The state of being completely forgotten.
  • n. A state of permanent unconsciousness existing after death

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of forgetting, or the state of being forgotten; cessation of remembrance; forgetfulness.
  • n. Official ignoring of offenses; amnesty, or general pardon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being forgotten or lost to memory.
  • n. The act or fact of forgetting; forgetfulness.
  • n. A forgetting of offenses, or remission of punishment.
  • n. Synonyms Oblivion, Forgetfulness, Obliviousness. Oblivion is the state into which a thing passes when it is thoroughly and finally forgotten. The use of oblivion for the act of forgetting was an innovation of the Latinizing age, which has not won recognition, nor has the “Act of Oblivion” given oblivion currency in the sense of official or formal pardon. Forgetfulness is a quality of a person: as, a man remarkable for his forgetfulness. If forgetfulness is ever properly used where oblivion would serve, it still seems the act of a person: as, to be buried in forgetfulness. Obliviousness stands for a sort of negative act, a complete failure to remember: as, a person's obliviousness of the proprieties of an occasion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. total forgetfulness
  • n. the state of being disregarded or forgotten

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin oblīviō, oblīviōn-, from oblīvīscī, to forget; see lei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman oblivion ( = Old French oblivion), from Latin oblīviō ("forgetfulness"), from oblivisci ("to forget"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Oblivion comes to me a kingly guest,
    with hands compassionate and blessed steps.
    My guest comes strongly on,
    folding the distances, the dark unknown.

    - Ibrahim Naji, 'Oblivion'.

    September 16, 2008