late 14c., "to destroy by separating into parts which cannot be reunited, as by burning or eating," hence "destroy the substance of, annihilate," from Old French consumer "to consume" (12c.) and directly from Latin consumere "to use up, eat, waste," from assimilated form of com-, here probably an intensive prefix (see com-), + sumere "to take," from sub- "under" (see sub-) + emere "to buy, take" (from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute").
Specifically, "to destroy by use, wear out by applying to its natural or intended use" from c. 1400. Sense of "to engage the full attention and energy of" is from 1570s.
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