burn·​ing | \ ˈbər-niŋ How to pronounce burning (audio) \

Definition of burning

1a : being on fire
b : ardent, intense burning enthusiasm
2a : affecting with or as if with heat a burning fever
b : resembling that produced by a burn a burning sensation on the tongue
3 : of fundamental importance : urgent one of the burning issues of our time

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from burning

burningly \ ˈbər-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce burningly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for burning


ablaze, afire, aflame, alight [chiefly British], blazing, combusting, conflagrant, fiery, flaming, ignited, inflamed (also enflamed), kindled, lit (or lighted)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of burning in a Sentence

She stared at the burning embers for a long time. a burning hatred of corruption The medicine produced a burning sensation on my tongue. Symptoms include itchy, burning eyes.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Check out their juiciest quotes below, broken down by the most burning questions raised. David Canfield, EW.com, "The Handmaid's Tale cast on how season 3 premiere marks totally 'new territory'," 5 June 2019 Illustration: Crystal Tai China’s path to technological supremacy has put companies such as Huawei in the Trump administration’s crosshairs, but China has even more burning issues in the long run. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Will China’s Tech Titans Be Heavyweights or Overweights?," 5 June 2019 So, the Good Housekeeping Institute consulted bug experts to find out the answer to your most burning questions: What's the most effective bed bug treatment? Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "This Is the Most Effective Bed Bug Treatment, According to Experts," 8 Apr. 2019 One man used a garden house to douse a burning wing that landed on the street. Amy Taxin, The Seattle Times, "Neighbors: Plane ‘sounded like a missile’ as it broke apart," 5 Feb. 2019 And, of course, the most burning question of all: Who is the Gargoyle King? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "The "Riverdale" Mid-Season Finale Left Us Shook and With Multiple Questions," 13 Dec. 2018 These officers look at this running into a burning home without waiting on firefighters. Fox News, "Media coverage of Mollie Tibbetts' murder," 23 Aug. 2018 The big transports fly along what appears to be northern California's Trinity River, through choking smoke, with patches of brightly burning flames visible on the ground. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch as a C-130 Flies Through Hell to Fight the Carr Wildfire," 9 Aug. 2018 All right, one sec, I’m also being told to tell you not to do any of that other stuff either, the scalding and burning stuff. Gary Gramling, SI.com, "David Johnson Is No. 2, Be Patient and Wait for Luck and Mahomes, the Non-Saquon Rookie You Want," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burning.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of burning

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about burning

Statistics for burning

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for burning

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for burning



English Language Learners Definition of burning

: on fire : producing or having a flame
: very strong
: very hot


burn·​ing | \ ˈbər-niŋ How to pronounce burning (audio) \

Medical Definition of burning

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : affecting with or as if with heat a burning fever
2 : resembling that produced by a burn a burning sensation on the tongue



Medical Definition of burning (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sensation of being on fire or excessively heated gastric burning

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on burning

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


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!