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[bur-oh, buhr-oh] /ˈbɜr oʊ, ˈbʌr oʊ/
a hole or tunnel in the ground made by a rabbit, fox, or similar animal for habitation and refuge.
a place of retreat; shelter or refuge.
verb (used without object)
to make a hole or passage in, into, or under something.
to lodge in a burrow.
to hide.
to proceed by or as if by digging.
verb (used with object)
to put a burrow into (a hill, mountainside, etc.).
to hide (oneself), as in a burrow.
to make by or as if by burrowing:
We burrowed our way through the crowd.
Origin of burrow
late Middle English
1325-75; Middle English borow, earlier burh, apparently gradational variant of late Middle English beri burrow, variant of earlier berg refuge, Old English gebeorg, derivative of beorgan to protect; akin to Old English burgen grave, i.e., place of protection for a body; see bury
Related forms
burrower, noun
unburrowed, adjective
Can be confused
borough, burro, burrow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for burrowed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So he companioned more with the wild things, and burrowed deeper into the hill.

    The Basket Woman Mary Austin
  • He burrowed in crevices and corners, and found corks and cigarettes.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • Yet, now and then, small holes were burrowed through the snow wall by the sharp wind.

    My Attainment of the Pole Frederick A. Cook
  • Nikky burrowed lower into the car, and attempted to look like a rug.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • It is as if history had burrowed under ground to escape from research and you had fairly run it to earth.

    Italian Hours Henry James
  • He burrowed deeper and deeper into the recesses of the thicket.

  • Temple and Teddy, as though by common thought, burrowed their faces into brawny shoulders.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
  • Ned burrowed in the bodies for a moment and dragged Billy out.

    Arm of the Law Harry Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for burrowed


a hole or tunnel dug in the ground by a rabbit, fox, or other small animal, for habitation or shelter
a small snug place affording shelter or retreat
to dig (a burrow) in, through, or under (ground)
(intransitive) often foll by through. to move through by or as by digging: to burrow through the forest
(intransitive) to hide or live in a burrow
(intransitive) to delve deeply: he burrowed into his pockets
to hide (oneself)
Derived Forms
burrower, noun
Word Origin
C13: probably a variant of borough
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
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Word Origin and History for burrowed



"rabbit-hole, fox-hole, etc.," c.1300, borewe, from Old English burgh "stronghold, fortress" (see borough); influenced by bergh "hill," and berwen "to defend, take refuge."


c.1600, "to place in a burrow, from burrow (n.). Figuratively (e.g. to burrow (one's) head) by 1862. Intransitive sense, "to bore one's way into, penetrate" is from 1610s, originally figurative (literal sense, of animals, attested by 1771). Related: Burrowed; borrowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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