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past participle of bear


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: transported or transmitted by
used in combination

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Borne is, just like born, the past participle of the verb bear, which can mean (among other things) "to contain" or "to give birth to." At first, borne and born were variant spellings of the same adjective. Used as in water-borne (or water-born), it means "carried by." In the phrase "borne enemies" (or "born enemies"), it means "from birth." To add to the confusion, the spelling borne sees occasional use in the passive voice in the "to give birth to" sense, as in "two sons were borne by his wife." In combining forms, born is reserved for the adjective related to birth (as in newly-born and Massachusetts-born) and borne retains the sense of "carried" ("airborne passengers").

Examples of borne in a Sentence

Adjective My book surveys the public-health landscape from food-borne and insectborne diseases to antibiotic resistance, from infectious causes of chronic afflictions to bioterrorism. Madeline Drexler, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2002
The news carried by mail coach is an exact inversion of the railroad-borne news in Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son (1844-46). John Plotz, The Crowd, 2000
I would tend to think your strawberries died from other causes. Strawberries need excellent drainage and a sandy, acidic soil that has good air space to encourage root health. They like a soil that has been amended with compost. But strawberries can succumb to soil-borne diseases. Kathy Huber, Houston Chronicle, 3 Oct. 1998
Recent Examples on the Web
But Wayne Turnage, deputy mayor for health and human services, said the choice not to increase the benefits is one borne of financial necessity, as many of the District’s social services programs are overburdened, over budget and more inneed of the cash. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2023 Despite these daunting numbers and the fear associated with the deadly, vector borne disease, 17-year-old innovator Gabrielle Wong, believes technology can help humans develop immunity to the problems ahead. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 14 July 2023 That's followed by glimpses of Chalamet's Edgar inadvertently puncturing a football, attracting a field of magnets in science class, and more scissorhands-borne mishaps. Tyler Aquilina,, 7 Feb. 2021 That mosquito-borne illness infected at least 38 people in the northeast and Midwest and killed 15 of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 12 May 2020 With pandemic preparedness, a respiratory-borne illness was always the big worry. Matthew Herper, STAT, 6 Mar. 2020 Ninety percent of health care organizations were hit with email-borne attacks last year, according to research released on Tuesday by Mimecast. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, 13 Mar. 2020 Sanders, volunteer coordinator at the Historical Society of Washington, clutched the roll of paper tightly, lest it be blown out of his hands and borne to 20th Street NW, eight stories down. John Kelly, Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2019 By combining those data with the floats’ own current-borne trajectories, investigators can reconstruct overall currents and their speed. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, 5 Feb. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'borne.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1559, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of borne was circa 1559


Dictionary Entries Near borne

Cite this Entry

“Borne.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


past participle of bear

Medical Definition


past part of bear

Legal Definition


past participle of bear

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