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noun \ˈbərn\

Definition of burn


  1. :  creek 2

Origin of burn

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German brunno spring of water

First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with burn



verb \ˈbərn\

Simple Definition of burn

  • of a fire or flame : to give off heat, light, and gases

  • : to contain a fire

  • : to be on fire : to have or produce a flame

Full Definition of burn

burned play \ˈbərnd, ˈbərnt\ or burnt play \ˈbərnt\ burn·ing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to consume fuel and give off heat, light, and gases <a small fire burns on the hearth> b :  to undergo combustion; also :  to undergo nuclear fission or nuclear fusion c :  to contain a fire <a little stove burning in the corner> d :  to give off light :  shine, glow <a light burning in the window>

  3. 2 a :  to be hot <the burning sand> b :  to produce or undergo discomfort or pain <ears burning from the cold> c :  to become emotionally excited or agitated: as (1) :  to yearn ardently <burning to tell the story> (2) :  to be or become very angry or disgusted <the remark made him burn>

  4. 3 a :  to undergo alteration or destruction by the action of fire or heat <the house burned down> <the potatoes burned to a crisp> b :  to die in the electric chair

  5. 4 :  to force or make a way by or as if by burning <her words burned into his heart>

  6. 5 :  to suffer sunburn <she burns easily>

  7. transitive verb
  8. 1 a :  to cause to undergo combustion; especially :  to destroy by fire <burned the trash> b :  to use as fuel <this furnace burns gas> c :  to use up :  consume <burn calories>

  9. 2 a :  to transform by exposure to heat or fire <burn clay to bricks> b :  to produce by burning <burned a hole in his sleeve> c :  to record digital data or music on (an optical disk) using a laser <burn a CD>; also :  to record (data or music) in this way <burn songs onto a disk>

  10. 3 a :  to injure or damage by or as if by exposure to fire, heat, or radiation :  scorch <burned his hand> b :  to execute by burning <burned heretics at the stake>; also :  electrocute

  11. 4 a :  irritate, annoy —often used with up <really burns me up> b :  to subject to misfortune, mistreatment, or deception —often used in passive <has been burned in love> c :  to beat or score on <burned the defense with a touchdown pass>

burn·able play \ˈbər-nə-bəl\ adjective
burn one's bridges also burn one's boats
  1. :  to cut off all means of retreat

burn one's ears
  1. :  to rebuke strongly

burn the candle at both ends
  1. :  to use one's resources or energies to excess

burn the midnight oil
  1. :  to work or study far into the night

Examples of burn

  1. A flame is kept constantly burning at the monument.

  2. A small fire burned brightly in the fireplace.

  3. There was a little stove burning in the front room.

  4. I could smell smoke and knew that something was burning.

  5. Be sure not to leave any candles burning when you go to bed.

  6. I burned the letter when I had finished reading it.

  7. The new town law makes it illegal to burn trash.

  8. The wildfire has burned acres of forest.

  9. Parts of the house were badly burned in the fire.

  10. a material that burns easily

Origin of burn

Middle English birnen, from Old English byrnan, v.i., bærnan, v.t.; akin to Old High German brinnan to burn

First Known Use: before 12th century




Definition of burn

  1. 1 :  an act, process, instance, or result of burning: as a :  injury or damage resulting from exposure to fire, heat, caustics, electricity, or certain radiations b :  a burned area <a burn on the tabletop> c :  an abrasion (as of the skin) having the appearance of a burn <rope burns> d :  a burning sensation <the burn of iodine on a cut>

  2. 2 :  the firing of a rocket engine in flight

  3. 3 :  anger; especially :  increasing fury —used chiefly in the phrase slow burn


First Known Use of burn


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up burn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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