bur·​row | \ ˈbər-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce burrow (audio) ; ˈbə-(ˌ)rō \

Definition of burrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a hole or excavation in the ground made by an animal (such as a rabbit) for shelter and habitation


burrowed; burrowing; burrows

Definition of burrow (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to make a burrow A fox had burrowed into the side of the hill.
b : to progress by or as if by digging burrowing through a pile of paperwork
2 : to make a motion suggestive of burrowing : snuggle, nestle burrowed against his back for warmth
3 : to conceal oneself in or as if in a burrow

transitive verb

1a : to penetrate by means of a burrow The tunnel burrows its way under the mountain.
b : to construct by tunneling burrowed a dwelling
2 : to make a motion suggestive of burrowing with : nestle burrows her hand into mine
3 archaic : to hide in or as if in a hole in the ground made by an animal for shelter and habitation : to hide in or as if in a burrow was burrowed in his cave

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from burrow


burrower noun

Synonyms for burrow

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of burrow in a Sentence

Noun the chipmunk retreated to its burrow to have its babies Verb The rabbit burrowed into the side of the hill. The frogs burrow under the mud. The mole burrowed its way under the ground.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ratty and Mole snug in the latter’s warm burrow on a cold winter’s night when the snow was so deep. Washington Post, "A reading list just right for Christmas 2020: A little Dickens, a little Wilde, a little Donald Duck," 23 Dec. 2020 The rodents burrow into the bluffs and hasten erosion along Carlsbad Boulevard. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Carlsbad beach commission seeks larger role in protecting coastline," 6 Dec. 2020 Paleontologists working in southern Australia’s strata have found burrow-like structures from the age of Leaellynasaura, and elsewhere these structures actually contain small, herbivorous dinosaurs. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Dinosaurs Thrived in the Snow," 3 Dec. 2020 The burrow may have collapsed under volcanic debris. Sarah Lewin Frasier, Scientific American, "In Case You Missed It," 17 Nov. 2020 The weird foot shape is ideal for excavating a burrow in a sand bank. Laura Erickson, Popular Science, "Three love stories about birds that will delight your heart," 6 Nov. 2020 But for now, Sparkplug is satisfied in his burrow, back with his family, spending his days chowing down and staying put. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "A 200-pound tortoise named Sparkplug broke out of his enclosure and wound up 30 miles away from his Alabama home," 28 Oct. 2020 In a YouTube video, Wolf explains how to make a burrow for a tortoise with either a large 12-inch PVC pipe or cinder blocks. Shaena Montanari, The Arizona Republic, "Desert tortoises need homes. Here's what to know about adopting these reptiles in Phoenix," 12 Oct. 2020 At his enclosure, Sparkplug has a burrow to get into for the winter, and the family uses a heat lamp to keep his temperature at about 80 degrees. al, "Sparkplug, a 200 pound tortoise, returned to Alabama family after escape," 26 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In 2021, the largest brood of cicadas in the United States, appropriately named Brood X, will awake from a 17-year sleep and burrow out of the cold earth, ushering in a new season of baroque bug horrors. Aj Willingham, CNN, "2020 was the year of scary bugs, and 2021 will be even worse," 30 Dec. 2020 Attackers then used that pipeline to burrow deep into the networks of the most interesting entities. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "2020 had its share of memorable hacks and breaches. Here are the top 10," 28 Dec. 2020 The hackers then used other techniques to burrow further. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "~18,000 organizations downloaded backdoor planted by Cozy Bear hackers," 14 Dec. 2020 Smart homes may cause people to burrow further into the personal, rather than the civic, realm. Max Holleran, The New Republic, "The Future of Staying Home," 3 Dec. 2020 Some run far from the flames, while others take shelter in hollow stumps, build dens out of downed trees or burrow underground. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Signs of life: Animals return to parks burned by Glass fire," 17 Nov. 2020 And the hackers behind the notorious botnet TrickBot have added malware capabilities to check if a target device's firmware is vulnerable to attack and, if so, burrow deeper for long-term persistence. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Security News This Week: The US Used the Patriot Act to Justify Logging Website Visitors," 5 Dec. 2020 These long winter nights offer a chance to burrow into literary challenges — this winter especially. Washington Post, "In ‘Kraft,’ German author Jonas Lüscher pokes fun at Silicon Valley’s shiny elitism and rabid faith in technology," 18 Nov. 2020 Make sure mulch is not piled against the base of the plant; voles and other burrowing animals could burrow through it to eat the bark. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Winter is coming: Here are 12 do’s and don’ts for preparing your garden for cold weather," 14 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burrow.' 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 burrow


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1596, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3

History and Etymology for burrow

Noun and Verb

Middle English borow

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about burrow

Time Traveler for burrow

Time Traveler

The first known use of burrow was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for burrow

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Burrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burrow. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for burrow


How to pronounce burrow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of burrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a hole or tunnel in the ground that an animal (such as a rabbit or fox) makes to live in or for safety



English Language Learners Definition of burrow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a hole or tunnel in the ground by digging
: to move or press under, through, or into something


bur·​row | \ ˈbər-ō How to pronounce burrow (audio) \

Kids Definition of burrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a hole in the ground made by an animal (as a rabbit or fox) for shelter or protection


burrowed; burrowing

Kids Definition of burrow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to hide in or as if in a burrow … she burrowed face downward into the pillow …— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
2 : to make a burrow
3 : to proceed by or as if by digging He burrowed through his suitcase.


bur·​row | \ ˈbər-(ˌ)ō, ˈbə-(ˌ)rō How to pronounce burrow (audio) \

Medical Definition of burrow

: a passage or gallery formed in or under the skin by the wandering of a parasite (as the mite of scabies or a foreign hookworm)

Other Words from burrow

burrow verb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on burrow

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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