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

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 Heather Green, a spokeswoman for the county who works for the Desert Conservation Program, said the earliest that Mojave Max has emerged from his burrow in his years as a seasonal forecaster is Feb. 14. David Montero, latimes.com, "How do you know it's springtime in Vegas? By waiting for Mojave Max to emerge," 29 Mar. 2018 Williams added that the department conducts preventive baiting, and began a pilot program to place dry ice into rodent burrows in parks or other green spaces to suffocate rats. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Chicago named 'rat capital' of the country amid rodent complaint spike," 22 July 2018 The other worm was found in 2002 in a fossil rodent burrow near the Kolyma River. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Russian worms frozen for nearly 42,000 years alive and well, scientists say," 27 July 2018 One of those places is Oregon’s Cannon Beach, where a puffin stands outside a nesting burrow near the top of Haystack Rock. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "Puffins are a dwindling treasure in Cannon Beach, plus Costco fans try to #SaveThePolishDog | Thursday Morning Brief, July 12," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Instead of burrowing into stark existential unease and barren psyches, though, Springsteen is now far more interested in romantic yearning and the search for some kind of home. Ken Capobianco, BostonGlobe.com, "On ‘Western Stars,’ Bruce Springsteen still singing for the lonely," 12 June 2019 Danny Green earned a pair of wide open third quarter threes off Leonard burrows to the rim, the type of shots that often warrant a frustrated timeout from Steve Kerr. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Kawhi Leonard’s Superstar Evolution Has Another Dynasty On Its Last Legs," 10 June 2019 Unlike bee species that have a large hive with queens and workers, wild bees burrow into nests to individually lay larvae. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Wild bees are building their homes from plastic—and scientists aren’t sure why," 5 June 2019 The mold growth has burrowed too deep into the particle board and needs to be thrown away, according to Purdue University. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "How to Remove Mold From Wood Furniture and Particle Board," 9 Apr. 2019 Snakes split off from burrowing lizards likely sometime in the Jurassic period. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Oldest Lizard Fossil Shows the Reptiles Are True Survivors," 1 June 2018 But the snake that managed to travel more than 9,000 miles from Australia to Scotland by burrowing in a woman's shoe takes the genre to a realistically terrifying new level. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Python on Plane Travels from Australia to Scotland Inside Woman's Shoe," 25 Feb. 2019 Parasitic mites had burrowed under her skin, living and laying eggs all over her body. Kristine Phillips, ajc, "She modeled in New York and worked for the Navy. At 93, parasites ate her alive at a Georgia nursing home.," 2 May 2018 Along with the scientific instruments being sought, engineers and scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have already been working for more than a year to develop a specialized cutting saw that can burrow at least 10cm into the ice. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA asks for Europa lander science experiments—and that’s a big deal," 18 May 2018

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

18 Jun 2019

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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

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


having a desire to acquire more things

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