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)

transitive verb

1 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
2a : to construct by tunneling burrowed a dwelling
b : to penetrate by means of a burrow The tunnel burrows its way under the mountain.
3 : to make a motion suggestive of burrowing with : nestle burrows her hand into mine

intransitive verb

1 : to conceal oneself in or as if in a burrow
2a : 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
3 : to make a motion suggestive of burrowing : snuggle, nestle burrowed against his back for warmth

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Other Words from burrow


burrower noun

Synonyms for burrow

Synonyms: Noun

den, hole, house, lair, lodge

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Examples of burrow in a Sentence


the chipmunk retreated to its burrow to have its babies


The rabbit burrowed into the side of the hill. The frogs burrow under the mud. The mole burrowed its way under the ground.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Every evening, nocturnal Hawaiian bobtail squids (Euprymna scolopes) emerge from their burrows in shallow waters of the Pacific to hunt for shrimp. Quanta Magazine, "New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution," 19 Feb. 2019 Many of these animals, as well as rodents and rabbits, could have survived by riding out the fire in underground burrows, reappearing after the fire has passed, Burnett said. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "Rabbits, bears and bobcats: How has the Woodbury Fire affected Arizona wildlife habitat?," 26 June 2019 A year of monthly service can cost as much as $3,000 for removal and filling in burrows, Colato says. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "Iguanas are worse than ever and we’re spending big bucks to get rid of them," 21 June 2019 Inside the burrows, the grassland earless dragon, which weighs barely more than a quarter, finds shelter from the extreme temperatures found on the plains. Tim Vernimmen, National Geographic, "New 'dragon' species may already be extinct," 22 May 2019 Some of them even share burrows with other wildlife. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Why was the toad just sitting in my backyard for hours?," 5 June 2019 This is due to the fact that bedbugs glom on to animals that live in stationary homes (nests, burrows), which was a habit that dinosaurs—who were roamers—never adopted. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Surprisingly, Bed Bugs Are As Old As Dinosaurs," 16 May 2019 Similar to how its dolphin counterparts got the name, rabbit succulents (or Monilaria obconica, as Martha Stewart shares) look exactly like little green bunnies popping out of their burrows. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Bunny Rabbit Succulents Are a Thing, and You'll Want Them All," 1 May 2019 Another owl was discovered dead near its burrow, and a third disappeared that year and was presumed killed. David Streitfeld, New York Times, "As Google Feeds Cats, Owl Lovers Cry Foul," 26 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

These shows are characterized by swooping aerial images of vast woodlands, after which the camera, pursued by strings, drums or an increasingly agitated bassoon, burrows down to find some spooking, singular image. Mary Mcnamara, latimes.com, "Finished Netflix’s ‘Dark.’ What’s the German word for ‘pissed’?," 12 July 2019 Beware of things that bite and burrow Of course not all hazards care whether the dog is on or off a leash. NBC News, "Hiking with dogs: How to protect them from ticks, injuries and overheating," 11 July 2019 Keep bushes trimmed so coyotes can't burrow underneath to hide. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Dismembered cats found in Tempe neighborhood. Who — or what — is killing them?," 10 July 2019 But the window was open, the screen was torn off and someone had apparently kicked a hole in the wall, burrowing into an adjacent bedroom. oregonlive.com, "Oregon man in onesie, cat named Spaghetti found hiding in crawl space during home burglary," 8 July 2019 Mary Louise demands a paternity test, and then, rebuffed by both Jane and Celeste, tries a different tactic, burrowing herself into both of their lives like a prairie dog. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Big Little Lies Gets Tough," 28 June 2019 Sometimes chemical components were used to delay explosions until a bomb could burrow into the ground to create a bigger crater and cause more damage. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "A mysterious explosion left a crater in a German field. It may have been a WWII bomb.," 25 June 2019 Sometimes chemical components were used to delay explosions until a bomb could burrow into the ground to create a bigger crater and cause more damage. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Massive blast leaves crater in German barley field," 25 June 2019 The Australian producer's runaway hit uses trippy melodies, jackin' rhythm and toe-curling synth bass to burrow into your brain and make your whole body move. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Dom Dolla's 'Take It' Gets a Fun, Psychedelic Video: Exclusive," 20 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of burrow


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1596, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for burrow

Noun and Verb

Middle English borow

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Statistics for burrow

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for burrow

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

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More Definitions for burrow



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on burrow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with burrow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for burrow

Spanish Central: Translation of burrow

Nglish: Translation of burrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of burrow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on burrow

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characterized by aphorism

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