I've seen the following sentences in a book.

The brake shoes are worn out.

The tires are worn.

I'm wondering when to use "worn" and when to use "worn out".

Longman Dictionary:

Worn: a worn object is old and damaged, especially because it has been used a lot

Worn out: too old or damaged to be used

It seems that "worn out" and "worn" have the same meaning. Do I need to be careful when using "worn out" and "worn"?

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    They are different, as your example definitions show, crucially in the "to be used" of Worn out. Worn can be applied almost as soon as something is not in "brand new" condition, but usually while it is still usable. Worn out implies that it cannot (or at least should not) be used (safely) anymore. – TripeHound Aug 21 '17 at 9:12
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    'Worn out' is, if you like, one endpoint on the spectrum of 'worn'. – Spagirl Aug 21 '17 at 9:19
  • No two words can be used interchangeably. Not in English, not in any language. That's why they are two words and not one word. – RegDwigнt Aug 21 '17 at 9:24
  • @RegDwigнt . I edited the title of the question. I agree with you, but sometimes it is not easy to realize the differences. For example, I am still waiting for a better answer to this question. – Opt Aug 21 '17 at 9:48

A worn out object is an object that has been worn to the point of uselessness.

For instance, the brake shoe would be worn if the lining was visibly abraded, it would be worn out if it was abraded to the point where the lining was worn away altogether, resulting in metal on metal contact.

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  • Worn out is rendered in some UK dialects as worn up. – WS2 Aug 21 '17 at 12:40
  • @WS2 Any clues as to which dialects? Not doubting it is used, given the range and weirdness of dialects, just that I've never (consciously) heard worn up used. Also, there's worn down which doesn't necessarily imply completely worn out, but tends to cover the very worn end of the spectrum that Spagirl mentions in a comment. – TripeHound Aug 21 '17 at 13:39

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