• synonyms


[bawrn, bohrn]
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  1. a city in SE Massachusetts.
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or bourne

[bawrn, bohrn]
noun Scot. and North England.
  1. burn2.
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noun Scot. and North England.
  1. a brook or rivulet.
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Also bourn, bourne.

Origin of burn2

before 900; Middle English burne, bourne, Old English burna, brunna brook; cognate with Gothic brunna, Dutch born, bron, German Brunnen, Old Norse brunnr spring
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bourne



noun archaic
  1. a destination; goal
  2. a boundary
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French borne; see bound ³


  1. mainly Southern English a stream, esp an intermittent one in chalk areasCompare burn 2
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French bodne limit; see bound ³


verb burns, burning, burnt or burned
  1. to undergo or cause to undergo combustion
  2. to destroy or be destroyed by fire
  3. (tr) to damage, injure, or mark by heathe burnt his hand; she was burnt by the sun
  4. to die or put to death by fireto burn at the stake
  5. (intr) to be or feel hotmy forehead burns
  6. to smart or cause to smartbrandy burns one's throat
  7. (intr) to feel strong emotion, esp anger or passion
  8. (tr) to use for the purposes of light, heat, or powerto burn coal
  9. (tr) to form by or as if by fireto burn a hole
  10. to char or become charredthe potatoes are burning in the saucepan
  11. (tr) to brand or cauterize
  12. (tr) to cut (metal) with an oxygen-rich flame
  13. to produce by or subject to heat as part of a processto burn charcoal
  14. (tr) to copy information onto (a CD-ROM)
  15. astronomy to convert (a lighter element) to a heavier one by nuclear fusion in a starto burn hydrogen
  16. cards, mainly British to discard or exchange (one or more useless cards)
  17. (tr; usually passive) informal to cheat, esp financially
  18. slang, mainly US to electrocute or be electrocuted
  19. (tr) Australian slang to drive fast (esp in the phrase go for a burn)
  20. burn one's bridges or burn one's boats to commit oneself to a particular course of action with no possibility of turning back
  21. burn the candle at both ends See candle (def. 3)
  22. burn one's fingers to suffer from having meddled or been rash
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  1. an injury caused by exposure to heat, electrical, chemical, or radioactive agents. Burns are classified according to the depth of tissue affected: first-degree burn : skin surface painful and red; second-degree burn : blisters appear on the skin; third-degree burn : destruction of both epidermis and dermis
  2. a mark, e.g. on wood, caused by burning
  3. a controlled use of rocket propellant, esp for a course correction
  4. a hot painful sensation in a muscle, experienced during vigorous exercisego for the burn!
  5. Australian and NZ a controlled fire to clear an area of scrub
  6. slang tobacco or a cigarette
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Word Origin

Old English beornan (intr), bærnan (tr); related to Old Norse brenna (tr or intr), Gothic brinnan (intr), Latin fervēre to boil, seethe


  1. Scot and Northern English a small stream; brook
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Word Origin

Old English burna; related to Old Norse brunnr spring, Old High German brunno, Lithuanian briáutis to burst forth
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 bourne



also bourne, "small stream," especially of the winter torrents of the chalk downs, Old English brunna, burna "brook, stream," from Proto-Germanic *brunnoz "spring, fountain" (cf. Old High German brunno, Old Norse brunnr, Old Frisian burna, German Brunnen "fountain," Gothis brunna "well"), ultimately from PIE root *bhreue- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn" (see brew (v.)).

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"destination," 1520s, from French borne, apparently a variant of bodne (see bound (n.)). Used by Shakespeare in Hamlet's soliloquy (1602), from which it entered into English poetic speech. He meant it probably in the correct sense of "boundary," but it has been taken to mean "goal" (Wordsworth, Matthew Arnold) or sometimes "realm" (Keats).

The dread of something after death, The vndiscouered Countrey; from whose Borne No Traueller returnes. ["Hamlet" III.i.79]
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12c., combination of Old Norse brenna "to burn, light," and two originally distinct Old English verbs: bærnan "to kindle" (transitive) and beornan "to be on fire" (intransitive), all from Proto-Germanic *brennan/*branajan (cf. Middle Dutch bernen, Dutch branden, Old High German brinnan, German brennen, Gothic -brannjan "to set on fire"). This perhaps is from PIE *gwher- "to heat, warm" (see warm (adj.)), or from PIE *bhre-n-u, from root *bhreue- "to boil forth, well up" (see brew (v.)). Related: Burned/burnt (see -ed); burning.

Figuratively (of passions, battle, etc.) in Old English. Meaning "cheat, swindle, victimize" is first attested 1650s. In late 18c, slang, burned meant "infected with venereal disease." To burn one's bridges (behind one) "behave so as to destroy any chance of returning to a status quo" (attested by 1892 in Mark Twain), perhaps ultimately is from reckless cavalry raids in the American Civil War. Slavic languages have historically used different and unrelated words for the transitive and intransitive senses of "set fire to"/"be on fire:" cf. Polish palić/gorzeć, Russian žeč'/gorel.

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c.1300, "act of burning," from Old English bryne, from the same source as burn (v.). Until mid-16c. the usual spelling was brenne. Meaning "mark made by burning" is from 1520s. Slow burn first attested 1938, in reference to U.S. movie actor Edgar Kennedy (1890-1948), who made it his specialty.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bourne in Medicine


  1. To undergo or cause to undergo combustion.
  2. To consume or use as fuel or energy.
  3. To damage or injure by fire, heat, radiation, electricity, or a caustic agent.
  4. To irritate or inflame, as by chafing or sunburn.
  5. To become sunburned or windburned.
  6. To metabolize a substance, such as glucose, in the body.
  7. To impart a sensation of intense heat to.
  8. To feel or look hot.
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  1. An injury produced by fire, heat, radiation, electricity, or a caustic agent.
  2. A burned place or area.
  3. The process or result of burning.
  4. A stinging sensation.
  5. A sunburn or windburn.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

bourne in Science


  1. To be on fire; undergo combustion. A substance burns if it is heated up enough to react chemically with oxygen.
  2. To cause a burn to a bodily tissue.
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  1. Tissue injury caused by fire, heat, radiation (such as sun exposure), electricity, or a caustic chemical agent. Burns are classified according to the degree of tissue damage, which can include redness, blisters, skin edema and loss of sensation. Bacterial infection is a serious and sometimes fatal complication of severe burns.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with bourne


In addition to the idioms beginning with burn

  • burn at the stake
  • burn down
  • burned up
  • burn in effigy
  • burning question
  • burn into
  • burn off
  • burn one's bridges
  • burn oneself out
  • burn one's fingers
  • burn out
  • burn rubber
  • burn someone up
  • burn the candle at both ends
  • burn the midnight oil
  • burn to a cinder
  • burn up

also see:

  • crash and burn
  • ears are burning
  • fiddle while Rome burns
  • (burn) in effigy
  • money burns a hole in one's pocket
  • money to burn
  • slow burn
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.