\ˈbər \

Definition of burr 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 usually bur

a : a rough or prickly envelope of a fruit

b : a plant that bears burs

2a : something that sticks or clings a burr in the throat

b : hanger-on

3 : an irregular rounded mass especially : a tree burl

4 : a thin ridge or area of roughness produced in cutting or shaping metal

5a : a trilled uvular \r\ as used by some speakers of English especially in northern England and in Scotland

b : a tongue-point trill that is the usual Scottish \r\

6a : a small rotary cutting tool

b usually bur : a bit used on a dental drill

7 : a rough humming sound : whir


burred; burring; burrs

Definition of burr (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to speak with a burr

2 : to make a whirring sound

transitive verb

1 : to pronounce with a burr

2a : to form into a projecting edge

b : to remove burrs from


biographical name
\ˈbər \

Definition of Burr (Entry 3 of 3)

Aaron 1756–1836 3rd vice president of the U.S. (1801–05)

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Other Words from burr


burred \ ˈbərd \ adjective


burrer noun

Synonyms for burr

Synonyms: Noun

buzz, chirr, churr, drone, hum, purr, thrum, whir (also whirr), whiz (or whizz), zoom

Synonyms: Verb

bumble, buzz, drone, hum, whir (also whirr), whish, whiz (or whizz), zip, zoom

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Examples of burr in a Sentence


a tool that can cut through steel leaving a smooth edge and no burrs heard the burr of a distant engine


the pitch burred past the batter's ear
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The burr forms where two intersecting angles are formed in the honing process. Josh Donald, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives," 17 Nov. 2017 Raise a burr with the first stone and then work up to a finer stone to remove those scratches, just like using sandpaper. Josh Donald, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives," 17 Nov. 2017 This burr grinder has a 40-setting grind size selector, an on-off switch for continuous grinding, and a push-button for manual control. Reviewed Staff, USA TODAY, "The best coffee makers of 2018," 8 May 2018 The focal point is a burr oak tree planted in memory of Jefferson Middle School's late principal Patricia Cross, who served there from 2006 to 2015. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "West Aurora students design new 'Prairie Classroom'," 17 May 2018 To remove the burr, use a leather strop, one of rubberized cork or softwood with a polishing compound on its surface. Josh Donald, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives," 17 Nov. 2017 An angry and embittered Trump without any sort of protective cocoon around him is capable of almost anything -- up to and including getting rid of the man who has been a burr in his saddle for the past year. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Donald Trump has never been more likely to fire Robert Mueller than he is right now," 9 Apr. 2018 One of Reichenbach’s favorite trees is the native burr oak for its longevity, adaptability and beauty. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Towering treasures: Arbor Day beckons us all to dig a hole, plant a tree," 6 Apr. 2018 Niggling grievances mount, like a seed stuck in your tooth or the burr in the saddle that sets off the bronco. Hannah Elliott, latimes.com, "Jaguar roars into the new golden era for station wagons," 24 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of burr


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1798, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for burr


Middle English burre; akin to Old English byrst bristle — more at bristle

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Dictionary Entries near burr


burp gun






Statistics for burr

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for burr

The first known use of burr was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for burr



English Language Learners Definition of burr

: a rough covering of a nut or seed

: a rough area on a piece of metal that is left after the metal is cut

: a strong way of pronouncing r that is used by some speakers of English especially in northern England and in Scotland


Kids Definition of burr

variant of


Medical Definition of burr 

variant of bur

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Comments on burr

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


noxious or harmful

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