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verb (used with object)
  1. to free from a burden.
  2. to relieve (one's mind, conscience, etc.) by revealing or confessing something.
  3. to cast off or get rid of, as a burden or something burdensome; disclose; reveal: He unburdened the worries that plagued him.
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Origin of unburden

First recorded in 1530–40; un-2 + burden1


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

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Examples from the Web for unburden

Historical Examples

  • She kept silent to give him an opportunity to unburden himself.

    Hunter's Marjory

    Margaret Bruce Clarke

  • I was about to unburden myself completely; the heart trembled.

    Foma Gordyeff

    Maxim Gorky

  • She, glad to unburden her mind, told him what Céline had said.

  • She had thought it all out carefully, and realized that she must unburden to some one.

    Blue Bonnet in Boston

    Caroline E. Jacobs

  • It was a relief to him to unburden his mind, and Riddell encouraged him to do it.

    The Willoughby Captains

    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for unburden


verb (tr)
  1. to remove a load or burden from
  2. to relieve or make free (one's mind, oneself, etc) of a worry, trouble, etc, by revelation or confession
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Archaic spelling: unburthen (ʌnˈbɜːðən)
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 unburden


1530s, "to unload" (transitive), from un- (2) "reverse of" + burden (v.). Cf. German entbürden. Reflective sense is recorded from 1580s. Related: Unburdened; unburdening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper