from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to undergo combustion.
  • transitive v. To destroy with fire: burned the trash; burn a house down.
  • transitive v. To consume (fuel or energy, for example): burned all the wood that winter.
  • transitive v. Physics To cause to undergo nuclear fission or fusion.
  • transitive v. To damage or injure by fire, heat, radiation, electricity, or a caustic agent: burned the toast; burned my skin with the acid.
  • transitive v. To execute or kill with fire: burning heretics at the stake.
  • transitive v. To execute by electrocution.
  • transitive v. To make or produce by fire or heat: burn a hole in the rug.
  • transitive v. To dispel; dissipate: The sun burned off the fog.
  • transitive v. To use as a fuel: a furnace that burns coal.
  • transitive v. To metabolize (glucose, for example) in the body.
  • transitive v. To impart a sensation of intense heat to: The chili burned my mouth.
  • transitive v. To irritate or inflame, as by chafing or sunburn.
  • transitive v. To let (oneself or a part of one's body) become sunburned.
  • transitive v. To brand (an animal).
  • transitive v. To engrave or make indelible by as or as if by burning: The image of the accident was burned into my memory.
  • transitive v. To harden or impart a finish to by subjecting to intense heat; fire: burn clay pots in a kiln.
  • transitive v. To make angry: That remark really burns me.
  • transitive v. To defeat in a contest, especially by a narrow margin.
  • transitive v. Sports To outplay or score on (an opponent), especially through quick or deceptive movement.
  • transitive v. To inflict harm or hardship on; hurt: "Huge loan losses have burned banks in recent years” ( Christian Science Monitor).
  • transitive v. To swindle or deceive; cheat: We really got burned on the used car we bought.
  • transitive v. To record data on (a compact disk, for example).
  • intransitive v. To undergo combustion.
  • intransitive v. To admit of burning: Wood burns easily.
  • intransitive v. To consume fuel: a rocket stage designed to burn for three minutes before being jettisoned.
  • intransitive v. Physics To undergo nuclear fission or fusion.
  • intransitive v. To emit heat or light by or as if by fire: campfires burning in the dark; the sun burning brightly in the sky.
  • intransitive v. To become dissipated or to be dispelled by or as if by heat: The fog burned off as the sun came up.
  • intransitive v. To give off light; shine: a light burning over the door.
  • intransitive v. To be destroyed, injured, damaged, or changed by or as if by fire: a house that burned to the ground; eggs that burned and stuck to the pan.
  • intransitive v. To be very hot; bake: a desert burning under the midday sun.
  • intransitive v. To feel or look hot: a child burning with fever.
  • intransitive v. To impart a sensation of heat: a liniment that burns when first applied.
  • intransitive v. To become irritated or painful, as by chafing or inflammation: eyes burning from the smoke.
  • intransitive v. To become sunburned or windburned.
  • intransitive v. To be consumed with strong emotion, especially:
  • intransitive v. To be or become angry: an insult that really made me burn.
  • intransitive v. To be very eager: was burning with ambition.
  • intransitive v. To penetrate by or as if by intense heat or flames: enemy ground radar burning through the fighters' electronic jammers; a look that burned into them.
  • intransitive v. To be engraved by or as if by burning: shame burning in my heart.
  • intransitive v. To suffer punishment or death by or as if by fire: souls burning in hell.
  • intransitive v. To be electrocuted.
  • n. An injury produced by fire, heat, radiation, electricity, or a caustic agent.
  • n. A burned place or area: a cigarette burn in the tablecloth.
  • n. An act, process, or result of burning: The fire settled down to a steady burn.
  • n. A sensation of intense heat or stinging pain: a chili burn on the tongue; the burn of alcohol on an open wound.
  • n. A sunburn or windburn.
  • n. Aerospace A firing of a rocket.
  • n. A swindle.
  • burn in To darken part of (a photograph print) by exposing unmasked areas.
  • burn out To stop burning from lack of fuel.
  • burn out To wear out or make or become inoperative as a result of heat or friction: The short circuit burned out the fuse.
  • burn out To cause (a property owner or a resident) to have to evacuate the premises because of fire: The shopkeeper was burned out by arsonists.
  • burn out To make or become exhausted, especially as a result of long-term stress: "Hours are long, stress is high, and many recruits drop out or burn out” ( Robert J. Samuelson).
  • burn up To make angry: Their rudeness really burns me up.
  • burn up To travel over or through at high speed: drag racers burning up the track.
  • idiom burn (one's) bridges To eliminate the possibility of return or retreat.
  • idiom the To exhaust oneself or one's resources by leading a hectic or extravagant life.
  • idiom burn the midnight oil To work or study very late at night.
  • idiom to burn In great amounts: They had money to burn.
  • n. Scots A small stream; a brook.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A physical injury caused by heat or cold or electricity or radiation or caustic chemicals.
  • n. The act of burning something.
  • n. Physical sensation in the muscles following strenuous exercise, caused by build-up of lactic acid.
  • n. An intense non-physical sting, as left by an effective insult.
  • n. tobacco
  • v. To be consumed by fire, or at least in flames.
  • v. To become overheated so as to make unusable.
  • v. To feel hot, e.g. due to embarrassment.
  • v. To sunburn.
  • v. To accidentally touch a moving stone.
  • v. To cause to be consumed by fire.
  • v. To overheat so as to make unusable.
  • v. To injure (a person or animal) with heat or caustic chemicals.
  • v. To betray.
  • v. To write data to a permanent storage medium like a compact disc or a ROM chip.
  • v. To waste (time).
  • v. To insult or defeat.
  • v. In pontoon, to swap a pair of cards for another pair. Also to deal a dead card.
  • v. To increase the exposure for certain areas of a print in order to make them lighter (compare dodge).
  • n. A stream.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hurt, injury, or effect caused by fire or excessive or intense heat.
  • n. The operation or result of burning or baking, as in brickmaking.
  • n. A disease in vegetables. See Brand, n., 6.
  • n. A small stream.
  • intransitive v. To be of fire; to flame.
  • intransitive v. To suffer from, or be scorched by, an excess of heat.
  • intransitive v. To have a condition, quality, appearance, sensation, or emotion, as if on fire or excessively heated; to act or rage with destructive violence; to be in a state of lively emotion or strong desire.
  • intransitive v. To combine energetically, with evolution of heat.
  • intransitive v. In certain games, to approach near to a concealed object which is sought.
  • transitive v. To consume with fire; to reduce to ashes by the action of heat or fire; -- frequently intensified by up: .
  • transitive v. To injure by fire or heat; to change destructively some property or properties of, by undue exposure to fire or heat; to scorch; to scald; to blister; to singe; to char; to sear.
  • transitive v. To perfect or improve by fire or heat; to submit to the action of fire or heat for some economic purpose; to destroy or change some property or properties of, by exposure to fire or heat in due degree for obtaining a desired residuum, product, or effect; to bake.
  • transitive v. To make or produce, as an effect or result, by the application of fire or heat.
  • transitive v. To consume, injure, or change the condition of, as if by action of fire or heat; to affect as fire or heat does.
  • transitive v. To apply a cautery to; to cauterize.
  • transitive v. To cause to combine with oxygen or other active agent, with evolution of heat; to consume; to oxidize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To consume with fire; destroy or reduce to ashesby the action of heat or fire.
  • To act on with fire; expose to the action of fire: as, to burn clay; to burn wood for charcoal; toburn limestone.
  • To produce by means of fire: as, to burn charcoal.
  • To scorch; affect or injure by heat: as, to burn one's clothes by being too near the fire; to burn one's fingers; to burn bread or meat.
  • To inflame or tan (the skin), as sunlight.
  • To produce an effect like that of fire; heat or inflame; affect with a burning sensation: as, ardent spirits burn the stomach; a burning fever.
  • In chem., to combine with oxygen; oxygenize.
  • In surgery, to apply a cautery to; cauterize.
  • To be on fire; flame: as, the fuel burns.
  • To become charred, singed, or scorched; be injured by undue exposure to fire or a heated surface, etc.: as, milk or oatmeal burns if cooked without stirring.
  • To become inflamed or tanned, or to become disintegrated by the effect of heat and reflected sunlight, as the skin from unusual or prolonged exposure to the sun or to the glare from a sheet of water.
  • To glow like fire; shine; gleam.
  • To be inflamed with passion or desire; be affected with strong emotion: as, to burn with anger or love.
  • To act or behave with destructive violence; be in a state of violent action; rage.
  • To be affected with a sensation of heat or burning pain, or acridity; feel excess of heat: as, the face burns; the patient burns with a fever.
  • To resemble fire in the effect or the sensation produced.
  • In certain games, to be very near a concealed object which is sought, that is, so near that one would be burned if it were fire; hence, to be nearly right in a guess.
  • To burnish; brighten; make gay or cheerful.
  • To vulcanize (india-rubber) by mixing it with sulphur or metallic sulphids and heating to a properly determined temperature.
  • To alter by means of heat, as a gem. Thus yellow topaz may be burned to pink, smoky quartz to brown and yellow (so-called Spanish topaz), chalcedony to carnelian, yellow or bluish zircon to the colorless variety, etc.
  • To injure (plants) as if by scorching: said of the action of strong fertilizers.
  • To become acidified as the effect of an excess of green herbage which has been plowed under: said of a soil.
  • n. A hurt or injury caused by the action of fire, especially on a living body; a burnt place in any substance.
  • n. The operation of burning or baking, as in brickmaking: as, they had a good burn.
  • n. A disease in vegetables. See brand, 6.
  • n. A clearing in the woods made by burning the trees. [U. S.]
  • n. A rivulet; a brook.
  • n. It occurs in various place-names, as Bannock-burn, Blackburn, etc.
  • n. A burden for one person.
  • n. In the tobacco trade: The quality of leaf considered with reference to the completeness or incompleteness of its reduction to ash in being smoked.
  • n. A damage sometimes suffered by tobacco in the process of curing (drying), due to excessive moisture in the air. Specifically termed house-burn when it takes place indoors, and pole-burn when the leaves are dried hanging on poles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an injury caused by exposure to heat or chemicals or radiation
  • v. cause to undergo combustion
  • v. cause to burn or combust
  • v. burn, sear, or freeze (tissue) using a hot iron or electric current or a caustic agent
  • n. pain that feels hot as if it were on fire
  • v. burn with heat, fire, or radiation
  • v. burn at the stake
  • v. get a sunburn by overexposure to the sun
  • v. use up (energy)
  • v. feel hot or painful
  • v. feel strong emotion, especially anger or passion
  • n. a browning of the skin resulting from exposure to the rays of the sun
  • v. destroy by fire
  • n. damage inflicted by fire
  • v. shine intensely, as if with heat
  • v. cause a sharp or stinging pain or discomfort
  • n. a place or area that has been burned (especially on a person's body)
  • v. spend (significant amounts of money)
  • v. create by duplicating data
  • v. undergo combustion


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English burnen, from Old English beornan, to be on fire, and from bærnan, to set on fire; see gwher- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Old English burna; see bhreu- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bernen, birnen, from Old English byrnan, beornan, from Proto-Germanic *brinnanan, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrenu̯ (compare Middle Irish brennim ("drink up"), bruinnim ("bubble up")), present stem from *bʰreu-, *bʰru- (compare Middle Irish bréo ("flame"), Albanian burth ("Cyclamen europaeum, mouth burning"), Sanskrit bhuráti ("moves quickly, twitches, fidgets")). More at brew.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English burn, bourne, from Old English burna, burne ("spring, fountain"), from Proto-Germanic *brunnō (compare West Frisian boarne, Dutch bron, German Brunnen), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰreu- (compare Albanian burim ("spring, fountain") from buroj ("to pour, gush, derive"), Ancient Greek phréār ("well, reservoir"), Old Armenian աղբիւր (aɫbiwr, "fount")). Doublet of bourn. More at brew.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "31. A damage sometimes suffered by tobacco in the process of curing (drying), due to excessive moisture in the air. Specifically termed house-burn when it takes place indoors, and pole-burn when the leaves are dried hanging on poles."

    --Century Dictionary

    December 24, 2010

  • "The major hazard is getting burned. Buy from a friend or a reputable dealer. If you have to do business with a stranger, be extra careful. Never front money. One of the burn artist's tricks is to take your money, tell you to wait and split with your dough. There are various side show gimmicks each burn artist works. The most common is to ask you to walk with them a few blocks and then stop in front of an apartment building. He then tells you the dope is upstairs and asks you to hand over the money in advance. He explains that his partner is the real uptight 'cause they were raided once and won't let anybody in the pad. He takes your dough and disappears inside the building. Out the back door or up to the roof and into his getaway helicopter."

    - Abbie Hoffman, 'Steal This Book', 1971.

    February 18, 2009

  • "The chainsaw has, of course, been a great invention for getting the fallen wood into useable forms. It's just a pity that so many of the fallen trees seem to end up in a burn at the bottom of a deep ravine."

    - Brian Henderson, 'You Can't Beat Warming Your Toes At A Real Log Fire', The Sunday Post (Scotland), 11 Jan 2009.

    January 12, 2009

  • *snort*

    October 6, 2008

  • This word always looks like bum if I don't have my glasses on.

    October 6, 2008

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German brunno spring of water

    Date: before 12th century


    "And the otter grew so sentimental (for otters can be very sentimental when they choose, like a good many people who are both cruel and greedy, and no good to anybody at all) that she sailed solemnly away down the burn, and Tom saw her no more for that time."

    _Water Babies, Charles Kingsley, 1937

    January 28, 2008