Green’s Dictionary of Slang

burn out v.

[fig. uses of SE]

1. (US Und.) to be arrested as a result of a tip-off or an informer.

[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 387: If the first inhabitants are really induced to quit, the house is quickly occupied by similar game, and the circumstance of the burning out, as it is termed, serves as a direction-post to new visitors.

2. (also burn up) vi, to become mentally or physically exhausted.

[UK](con. 1917–18) J.M. Saunders Wings (1928) 190: Powell was burning himself up, they all agreed. He was having almost daily combats.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 180: He wouldn’t be running after young girls when he was fifty, he would have burned out by then.
[US]J.W. Dean III Blind Ambition 49: [B]urning himself out working briefly for Henry Kissinger.
[US]S. King It (1987) 136: You’ll burn out on sex and booze.
[UK]Indep. 26 June 10: I would get out of bed almost every night and write an idea down. I burnt myself out.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 3 Mar. 13: Their fellow 70s hellraisers burned out, burned up or turned into poodle-permed softies.
[UK]Guardian 12 Sept. 🌐 The Londonwide Local Medical Committee says GPs are ‘burned out’ due to an increase in demand and cuts.

3. vtr. to exhaust, mentally or physically.

[US]R. Starnes Another Mug for the Bier 125: ‘She burned out her gentlemen friends very fast, I have heard’.

4. to die, from over-work, exhaustion.

[UK]Picture Post 15 Jan. 42: Jacques Fath was a human dynamo. In a few short years he designed and charmed his way to the top of the world of fashion. Then, last November, at 42, he burnt himself out.

5. (US) to suffer a setback or failure.

[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 102: By the time that any fad burned out, the Beach Boys were inevitably long long gone.

6. to become bored.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 312: He’ll burn out on the little bitch [...] and pass her on to you.

7. to use up or exhaust a source for stolen goods.

S. Fiddle Portraits from a Shooting Gallery in Lingeman (1969) n.p.: If he [the addict] is a booster [thief] he will recognize the fact that he can ‘burn out’ a certain department store. He will therefore respect the store detectives and move from place to place as the days passed.

8. (US campus) to do well.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

9. to stop or give up suddenly.

[US] Hip-Hop Connection Dec. 19: Why one of hip-hop’s greatest names have [sic] chosen to burn out rather than fade away.