[bur-oh, buhr-oh]


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)

verb (used with object)

Origin of burrow

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 formsbur·row·er, nounun·bur·rowed, adjective
Can be confusedborough burro burrow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for burrow

delve, lair, tunnel, couch, shelter, den, hovel, retreat, excavate, undermine

Examples from the Web for burrow

Contemporary Examples of burrow

Historical Examples of burrow

  • They then began to make holes through them, and to burrow underneath.

  • When they want to hide, they burrow under one of these rookeries.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • They burrow underneath the surface, you know, and one never sees them.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • I'm a contemptible thing that runs to its burrow when it hears of danger.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • To pray for your bread or to burrow in the earth for it, is it not the same with most people?

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

British Dictionary definitions for burrow



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)
(intr often foll by through) to move through by or as by diggingto burrow through the forest
(intr) to hide or live in a burrow
(intr) to delve deeplyhe burrowed into his pockets
to hide (oneself)
Derived Formsburrower, noun

Word Origin for burrow

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

Word Origin and History for burrow

"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