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

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Other Words from burrow


burrower noun

Synonyms for burrow

Synonyms: Noun

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The newborns spent the first two weeks of their life in somewhat of a quarantine, nestled safely in a burrow with their mom. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, "L.A. Zoo Welcomes 4 'Energetic' Meerkat Pups — and They're Already Busy Digging," 30 June 2020 According to the agency, sea lamprey first burrow under riverbed sediment and filter feed on detritus - which more or less means decomposed matter -- before making their way to the ocean and living parasitically on other organisms as juveniles. Alec Snyder, CNN, "A 'vampire fish' is spawning in Vermont's waters. Experts say most of them are nothing to worry about," 25 June 2020 The suction-cup mouth and teeth helps a lamprey burrow into (and feed on) the flesh of trout, sturgeon, whitefish, ciscoes, burbot, walleye, catfish, and salmon, among others. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "10 Common Parasites and Diseases Found in Game Fish (and What You Need to Know About Them)," 27 May 2020 They have been documented using gopher tortoise burrows and eating tortoise eggs and the young. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Georgia officials trying to stop large, invasive lizard that eats 'anything they want'," 13 May 2020 The black and white tegus have been documented using gopher tortoise burrows and eating tortoise and alligator eggs, as well as the tortoise young. NBC News, "Invasive South American lizard sighted in Georgia for 3rd year, conservation group says," 13 May 2020 Among the crested toad’s ideal hiding spots are crab burrows, spider lairs, and nest cavities created by small Caribbean birds called todies. National Geographic, "Puerto Rican crested toad," 26 Mar. 2020 The reverse-evolution is designed to help the ants belonging to the soldier caste properly close off burrow entrances in order to protect the colony. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Why These Ants Undergo Reverse-Evolution To Defend Their Colonies," 11 Mar. 2020 When fiddler crab burrows were tucked among the vegetation, little extra gas was released. Science | AAAS, "Fiddler crabs produce more carbon dioxide than their marshy homes can handle," 15 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dennis, along with the National Urban League’s Marc Morial and New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, will burrow to the root of Black generational poverty and how to strengthen the Black economy. Shamika Sanders, Essence, "Everything You Need To Know About ESSENCE's 2020 Wealth and Power Experience," 26 June 2020 The nickname burrowed under Annie’s skin, and did not leave. Hilary Leichter, Harper's Magazine, "Terrace Story," 25 May 2020 Scan the bottom for the wild translucent red arms of the smaller moonglow anemones (Anthopleura artemisia) or the flashlight-like burrowing anemones. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "How low can you go? West Coast tides this summer should be astonishing," 3 June 2019 This is the newer part of the tunnel, a section burrowed out between 2011 and 2018. Madeline Ostrander, Smithsonian Magazine, "In a Tunnel Beneath Alaska, Scientists Race to Understand Disappearing Permafrost," 4 May 2020 This is the newer part of the tunnel, a section burrowed out between 2011 and 2018. Madeline Ostrander, Wired, "Want to Study Permafrost? Get It Before It's Gone," 2 May 2020 But the disease is still around today. Caused by a soil-living bacterium known as Yersinia pestis, plague can infect small hosts, such as fleas, and then jump to ground-burrowing rodents, and so on up the food chain. National Geographic, "See the Full Archive," 3 Apr. 2020 Once those wasp eggs hatch, the baby wasps burrow inside the nymphs and devour them from the inside out, leaving only a hollow husk. Los Angeles Times, "Want to save your citrus trees? Start a full-fledged insect war," 24 Apr. 2020 For example, the City of West Palm Beach recently paid $1.8 million to repair a weir that was partially damaged by burrowing iguanas and to armor the low dam against further damage. Popular Science, "Iguanas are falling out of trees in Florida, and it’s completely fine," 25 Jan. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for burrow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for burrow

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Burrow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burrow. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on burrow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for burrow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with burrow

Spanish Central: Translation of burrow

Nglish: Translation of burrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of burrow for Arabic Speakers

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