\ ˈbər How to pronounce burr (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Burr (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Burr (audio) \ adjective


burrer noun

Synonyms for burr

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of burr in a Sentence

Noun a tool that can cut through steel leaving a smooth edge and no burrs heard the burr of a distant engine Verb the pitch burred past the batter's ear
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dear Miss Manners: Degradation of the English language has become a prickly burr under my tail. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2021 Every bean contacts the burr, which means all the grounds are even. Anthony Marcusa, chicagotribune.com, 5 Mar. 2021 This burr coffee grinder is a great option if the Virtuoso+ is a bit out of your price range. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, 26 Feb. 2021 In 2002, though, McEwen, acting on a suggestion from his father, Ralph McEwen, bought a stone burr gristmill and began grinding organic grits at his store. Bob Carlton | Bcarlton@al.com, al, 24 Feb. 2021 Remove the burr by repeating steps three through six. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, 10 Feb. 2021 Just bring in a couple volunteers and organize the locals, encourage them to read to the little burr-heads instead of just sitting around half the day smoking dope or doing nothing while all those machines rumbling, tumbling. John Edgar Wideman, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2020 Beginner baristas and coffee connoisseurs alike will be pleased with the Baratza Virtuoso+, a conical burr grinder with 40 settings for grind size, from super fine (espresso) to super coarse (French press). Cnn Underscored Staff, CNN Underscored, 30 Oct. 2020 Iran – that burr under the saddle of presidents and presidential aspirants alike since 1979 – may not have much of an irritating presence in this year’s presidential campaign. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for burr

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Burr.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burr. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on burr

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for burr

Nglish: Translation of burr for Spanish Speakers


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