Answer: to use up gradually
Word Origin early 19th century (earlier (mid. 17th century) as depletion): from Latin deplet- 'emptied out' from the verb deplere from de- (expressing reversal) + plere 'fill' (from plenus 'full').
Scrabble Points: 10
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The de- prefix often means "do the opposite of" so deplete means the opposite of "fill". Thus for example a kitchen's food supplies can be rapidly depleted by hungry teenagers. But deplete often suggests something more serious.
Some common synonyms of deplete are bankrupt drain exhaust and impoverish. While all these words mean "to deprive of something essential to existence or potency " deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function. depleting our natural resources When is bankrupt a more appropriate choice than deplete?
verb (used with object) de·plet·ed de·plet·ing. to decrease seriously or exhaust the abundance or supply of: The fir...