1. 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).
2. The act or an instance of forgetting; total forgetfulness: sought the great oblivion of sleep.
3. Archaic Official overlooking of offenses; amnesty.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin oblīviō, oblīviōn-, from oblīvīscī, to forget; see lei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.