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See more synonyms for burdened on Thesaurus.com
adjective Navigation.
  1. (of a vessel) required to yield to a vessel having the right of way.Compare privileged(def 5).
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Origin of burdened


  1. that which is carried; load: a horse's burden of rider and pack.
  2. that which is borne with difficulty; obligation; onus: the burden of leadership.
  3. Nautical.
    1. the weight of a ship's cargo.
    2. the carrying capacity of a ship.
  4. Mining. overburden(def 3).
  5. Metallurgy. the minerals charged into a blast furnace or steelmaking furnace.
  6. Accounting. overhead(def 6).
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verb (used with object)
  1. to load heavily.
  2. to load oppressively; trouble.
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Origin of burden1

before 1000; Middle English, variant of burthen, Old English byrthen; akin to German Bürde, Gothic baurthei; see bear1
Related formsbur·den·er, nounbur·den·less, adjective


See more synonyms for burden on Thesaurus.com
2. weight, encumbrance, impediment. 8. weigh down, saddle, try, afflict, perturb, plague, grieve, vex.

Synonym study

1. See load.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for burdened

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I would sooner you had killed me than burdened my soul with your death.


    William J. Locke

  • He is not to be burdened for ever with the sense of his sins.


    James Anthony Froude

  • At the next moment there was the sound from without of burdened footsteps.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Especially were they burdened with books on economics and political science.

    Herbert Hoover

    Vernon Kellogg

  • The conscience of to-day is burdened with a load well-nigh unbearable.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

British Dictionary definitions for burdened


  1. something that is carried; load
  2. something that is exacting, oppressive, or difficult to bearthe burden of responsibility Related adjective: onerous
  3. nautical
    1. the cargo capacity of a ship
    2. the weight of a ship's cargo
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verb (tr)
  1. (sometimes foll by up) to put or impose a burden on; load
  2. to weigh down; oppressthe old woman was burdened with cares
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Word Origin

Old English byrthen; related to beran to bear 1, Old Frisian berthene burden, Old High German burdin


  1. a line of words recurring at the end of each verse of a ballad or similar song; chorus or refrain
  2. the principal or recurrent theme of a speech, book, etc
  3. another word for bourdon
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French bourdon bass horn, droning sound, of imitative origin
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 burdened



"a load," Old English byrðen "a load, weight, charge, duty;" also "a child;" from Proto-Germanic *burthinjo- "that which is borne" (cf. Old Norse byrðr, Old Saxon burthinnia, German bürde, Gothic baurþei), from PIE root *bher- (1) "to bear, to carry; give birth" (see infer).

The shift from -th- to -d- took place beginning 12c. (cf. murder). Archaic burthen is occasionally retained for the specific sense of "capacity of a ship." Burden of proof is recorded from 1590s.

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"leading idea," 1640s, a figurative use from earlier sense "refrain or chorus of a song," 1590s, originally "bass accompaniment to music" (late 14c.), from Old French bordon "bumble-bee, drone," or directly from Medieval Latin burdonom "drone, drone bass" (source of French bourdon, Spanish bordon, Portuguese bordão, Italian bordone), of echoic origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper