inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to the sun or a sunlamp.

verb (used with or without object), sun·burned or sun·burnt, sun·burn·ing.

to affect or be affected with sunburn: An hour in the sun sunburned me severely. I sunburn easily.

Origin of sunburn

First recorded in 1520–30; sun + burn1
Related formsun·sun·burned, adjectiveun·sun·burnt, adjectivewell-sun·burned, adjectivewell-sun·burnt, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sunburn

Contemporary Examples of sunburn

Historical Examples of sunburn

  • Some of their necks and cheeks were peeling, as if from sunburn.

  • The touch of sunburn, too, was becoming, for she didn't freckle.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • Seth colored, under his coat of sunburn, and seemed embarrassed.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Nor could she be certain that his coloring was due to sunburn.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • His face was thin and the sunburn faded, as though he had been ill.

    The Secret Sharer

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for sunburn



inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to the sunTechnical name: erythema solare
another word for suntan
Derived Formssunburnt or sunburned, adjective
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 sunburn

1520s, from sun (n.) + burn (v.). Sunburnt (c.1400) is older than sunburned (c.1500, sunne y-brent). As a noun from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sunburn in Medicine




Inflammation and erythema of the skin, often with blistering, caused by overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of direct sunlight.
Related formssunburn′ v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.