• synonyms


[ber-net, bur-nit]
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  1. any of several plants belonging to the genera Sanguisorba and Poterium, of the rose family, having pinnate leaves and dense heads of small flowers.
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Origin of burnet

1225–75; Middle English < Middle French burnete, variant of brunete (see brunet); so called from its hue


[ber-net, bur-nit]
  1. Sir (Frank) Mac·far·lane [muh k-fahr-luh n] /məkˈfɑr lən/, 1899–1985, Australian physician: Nobel Prize in Physiology 1960.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for burnet

Historical Examples

  • Bishop Burnet takes notice of the discovery of this intrigue.

    The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Complete

    Anthony Hamilton

  • Burnet was a 'gossiper, slanderer, and notorious falsifier of facts.'

  • His cosmological ideas were based on those of Burnet and Leibnitz.

    Lamarck, the Founder of Evolution

    Alpheus Spring Packard

  • There was coffee on the table too, for Mr Burnet was there, and Sally knew his tastes.

    David Fleming's Forgiveness

    Margaret Murray Robertson

  • Visitors were rare in Burnet, and the children regarded them always as a treat.

    Nine Little Goslings

    Susan Coolidge

British Dictionary definitions for burnet


  1. a plant of the rosaceous genus Sanguisorba (or Poterium), such as S. minor (or P. sanguisorba) (salad burnet), which has purple-tinged green flowers and leaves that are sometimes used for salads
  2. burnet rose or Scotch rose a very prickly Eurasian rose, Rosa pimpinellifolia, with white flowers and purplish-black fruits
  3. burnet saxifrage a Eurasian umbelliferous plant of the genus Pimpinella, having umbrella-like clusters of white or pink flowers
  4. a moth of the genus Zygaena, having red-spotted dark green wings and antennae with enlarged tips: family Zygaenidae
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French burnete, variant of brunete dark brown (see brunette); so called from the colour of the flowers of some of the plants


  1. Gilbert . 1643–1715, Scottish bishop and historian, who played a prominent role in the Glorious Revolution (1688–89); author of The History of My Own Times (2 vols: 1724 and 1734)
  2. Sir (Frank) Macfarlane (məkˈfɑːlən). 1899–1985, Australian physician and virologist, who shared a Nobel prize for physiology or medicine in 1960 with P. B. Medawar for their work in immunology
  3. Thomas . 1635–1715, English theologian who tried to reconcile science and religion in his Sacred theory of the Earth (1680–89)
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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

burnet in Medicine


(bər-nĕt, bûrnĭt)Sir (Frank) Macfarlane 1899-1985
  1. Australian virologist. He shared a 1960 Nobel Prize for his work on acquired immunological tolerance.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.