un·​bur·​den | \ ˌən-ˈbər-dᵊn How to pronounce unburden (audio) \
unburdened; unburdening; unburdens

Definition of unburden

transitive verb

1 : to free or relieve from a burden
2 : to relieve oneself of (cares, fears, worries, etc.) : cast off

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Synonyms & Antonyms for unburden


disburden, discharge, disencumber, off-load, unlade, unload, unpack


load, pack

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Examples of unburden in a Sentence

the crew was frantically unburdening the ship in an attempt to save it a generous friend unburdened her of that particular financial worry

Recent Examples on the Web

Cheap and unburdened by regulations governing mobile-phone service, Wi-Fi networks have grown from a coffee-shop perk to near ubiquity. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "Cellphone Carriers Envision World Without Wi-Fi," 2 Mar. 2019 One goal of the treatment is to help veterans unburden themselves of shame, Yeomans told me. New York Times, "The Wounds of the Drone Warrior," 13 June 2018 Even over the phone, McCaskill sounds light and unburdened. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "What It's Like to Lose in the Year of the Woman," 21 Dec. 2018 This willingness to experiment without feeling beholden to fan expectations about what games should be sold or shared makes Itchio feel like a garden of digital possibility, one unburdened by corporate overlords or the growing malaise of loot boxes. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The game store that outshines Steam by staying small and weird," 29 Nov. 2018 Carrie is perhaps the most heartbreaking, her face pressed close to the lens, whispering plaintively like a fugitive, apologetically unburdening her palpable panic, pain, and loneliness. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "An unflinching look at ‘The Pain of Others’," 28 June 2018 After 80 games, Cristiano Felicio finally is unburdening himself. K.c. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Cristiano Felicio admits he tried to live up to contract," 8 Apr. 2018 Stalin used the press, unburdened by facts, to create an enclosed atmosphere where paranoid fantasy had to be accepted as reality. Will Englund, Washington Post, "Why Trump’s ‘enemy of the people’ bluster can’t be compared to Stalin’s savage rule," 17 Jan. 2018 Yet some of the highest rates for sickle cell disease come from the Mediterranean and India, while large regions of South and North Africa are generally unburdened by the disease. Jennifer W. Tsai, STAT, "You can’t tell a book by its cover — or a disease by Drake’s race," 11 July 2018

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

circa 1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unburden

Last Updated

11 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unburden

The first known use of unburden was circa 1538

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English Language Learners Definition of unburden

: to take a problem or burden away from (someone or something)


un·​bur·​den | \ ˌən-ˈbər-dᵊn How to pronounce unburden (audio) \
unburdened; unburdening

Kids Definition of unburden

: to free from a burden and especially from something causing worry or unhappiness After weeks of worry she unburdened herself to her friends.

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More from Merriam-Webster on unburden

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unburden

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unburden

Spanish Central: Translation of unburden

Nglish: Translation of unburden for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unburden

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


one that collects or salvages junk

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