verb (used without object), burned or burnt, burn·ing.
- to undergo combustion, either fast or slow; oxidize.
- to undergo fission or fusion.
verb (used with object), burned or burnt, burn·ing.
- to cease functioning because something has been exhausted or burned up, as fuel or a filament: Our light bulbs burned out.
- to deprive of a place to live, work, etc., by reason of fire: They were burned out and had to live with relatives.
- to wear out; exhaust; be worn out; become exhausted.
- to burn completely or utterly: The papers burned up in a minute.
- Informal.to become angry: He burns up at the mention of her name.
Origin of burn1
Synonyms for burn
verb burns, burning, burnt or burned
Word Origin for burn
Word Origin for burn
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.
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.
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
- 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