• synonyms


  1. inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to the sun or a sunlamp.
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verb (used with or without object), sun·burned or sun·burnt, sun·burn·ing.
  1. to affect or be affected with sunburn: An hour in the sun sunburned me severely. I sunburn easily.
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Origin of sunburn

First recorded in 1520–30; sun + burn1
Related formsun·sun·burned, adjectiveun·sun·burnt, adjectivewell-sun·burned, adjectivewell-sun·burnt, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sunburn

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to the sunTechnical name: erythema solare
  2. another word for suntan
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sunburn in Medicine


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