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burke

[burk]
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verb (used with object), burked, burk·ing.
  1. to murder, as by suffocation, so as to leave no or few marks of violence.
  2. to suppress or get rid of by some indirect maneuver.
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Origin of burke

after W. Burke, hanged in 1829 in Edinburgh for murders of this kind
Related formsburk·er, burk·ite [bur-kahyt] /ˈbɜr kaɪt/, noun

Burke

[burk]
noun
  1. BillieMary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke, 1886–1970, U.S. actress.
  2. Edmund,1729–97, Irish statesman, orator, and writer.
  3. Kenneth Du·va [doo-vey] /duˈveɪ/, 1897–1993, U.S. literary critic.
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Burk

or Burke

[burk]
noun
  1. Martha Jane,1852?–1903, Calamity Jane.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for burke

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Burke winced, but he made shift to conceal his realization of the truth she had stated to him.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Burke swung himself around in a movement of complete disgust.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Inspector Burke will tell you how easy it is for me to get it.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Inspector Burke himself filled the void in the halting sentence.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It was Burke who offered a diversion, a crude interruption after his own fashion.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana


British Dictionary definitions for burke

burke

verb (tr)
  1. to murder in such a way as to leave no marks on the body, usually by suffocation
  2. to get rid of, silence, or suppress
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Word Origin

C19: named after William Burke, executed in Edinburgh for a murder of this type

Burke

noun
  1. Edmund . 1729–97, British Whig statesman, conservative political theorist, and orator, born in Ireland: defended parliamentary government and campaigned for a more liberal treatment of the American colonies; denounced the French Revolution
  2. Robert O'Hara . 1820–61, Irish explorer, who led the first expedition (1860–61) across Australia from south to north. He was accompanied by W. J. Wills, George Grey, and John King; King alone survived the return journey
  3. William . 1792–1829, Irish murderer and body snatcher; associate of William Hare
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burk

noun
  1. British slang a variant spelling of berk
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for burke

Burke

v.

family name (first recorded 1066), from Anglo-Norman pronunciation of Old English burgh. Not common in England itself, but it took root in Ireland, where William de Burgo went in 1171 with Henry II and later became Earl of Ulster. As shorthand for a royalty reference book, it represents "A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the United Kingdom," first issued 1826, compiled by John Burke (1787-1848). As a verb meaning "murder by smothering," it is abstracted from William Burk, executed in Edinburgh 1829 for murdering several persons to sell their bodies for dissection.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper