noun (1)
bur·​den | \ˈbər-dᵊn \

Definition of burden 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : something that is carried : load dropped his burden of firewood

b : duty, responsibility forced to bear the burden of caring for her aging parents lowering the tax burden on the middle class

2 : something oppressive or worrisome a heavy burden of guilt was a huge financial burden on his family

3a : the bearing of a load usually used in the phrase beast of burden

b : capacity for carrying cargo a ship of a hundred tons burden

4 : load sense 11 worm burdens of cattle cancer burden


burdened; burdening\ ˈbərd-​niŋ , ˈbər-​dᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of burden (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: load, oppress I will not burden you with a lengthy account.


noun (2)

Definition of burden (Entry 3 of 3)

1 archaic : a bass or accompanying part I would sing my song without a burden; thou bringest me out of tune— Shakespeare

2a : chorus, refrain

b : a central topic : theme the burden of the argument

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Synonyms & Antonyms for burden

Synonyms: Verb

bum (out), dash, deject, depress, get down, oppress, sadden, weigh down

Antonyms: Verb

brighten, buoy, cheer (up), gladden, lighten, rejoice

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Examples of burden in a Sentence


I don't wish to burden you with my problems. burdened the dog with a little backpack

First Known Use of burden

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1541, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for burden

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English byrthen; akin to Old English beran to carry — more at bear


see burden entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English burdoun, from Anglo-French burdun a drone bass, of imitative origin

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Statistics for burden

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Time Traveler for burden

The first known use of burden was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for burden



English Language Learners Definition of burden

: to make (someone) hold or carry something heavy or accept or deal with something difficult : to put a heavy burden on (someone)


bur·​den | \ˈbər-dᵊn \

Kids Definition of burden

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something carried : load

2 : something that is hard to take a heavy burden of sorrow

3 : the capacity of a ship for carrying cargo a vessel of fifty tons burden


burdened; burdening

Kids Definition of burden (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to have a heavy load or put a heavy load on

2 : to cause to have to deal with He is burdened with responsibilities.


bur·​den | \ˈbərd-ᵊn \

Medical Definition of burden 

: load sense 3 worm burden cancer burden

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Legal Definition of burden 

1 : something that is a duty, obligation, or responsibility the prosecution has the burden of proving every element of the offense the statute imposes undue burdens burden of pleading the necessary elements

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Comments on burden

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


playful or foolish behavior

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