burden

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English[edit]

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Etymology 1[edit]

PIE root
*bʰer-

From Middle English burden, birden, burthen, birthen, byrthen, from Old English byrden, byrþen ‎(burden, load, weight; charge, duty), from Proto-Germanic *burþinjō ‎(burden), from Proto-Germanic *burþį̄ ‎(burden), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- ‎(to carry, bear). Cognate with Scots burthine ‎(burden), Middle Low German borden ‎(burden), Middle High German bürden ‎(burden, load). Related to Old English byrd ‎(burden), German Bürde ‎(burden, weight), Danish byrde ‎(burden), Swedish börde ‎(burden), Icelandic byrði ‎(burden).

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

burden ‎(plural burdens)

  1. A heavy load.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      There were four or five men in the vault already, and I could hear more coming down the passage, and guessed from their heavy footsteps that they were carrying burdens.
  2. A responsibility, onus.
  3. A cause of worry; that which is grievous, wearisome, or oppressive.
    • Jonathan Swift
      Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone, / To all my friends a burden grown.
  4. The capacity of a vessel, or the weight of cargo that she will carry.
    a ship of a hundred tons burden
  5. (mining) The tops or heads of stream-work which lie over the stream of tin.
  6. (metalworking) The proportion of ore and flux to fuel, in the charge of a blast furnace.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Raymond to this entry?)
  7. A fixed quantity of certain commodities.
    A burden of gad steel is 120 pounds.
  8. (obsolete, rare) A birth.
    That bore thee at a burden two fair sons
  9. (medicine) The total amount of toxins, parasites, cancer cells, plaque or the such present in an organism.
Translations[edit]
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Verb[edit]

burden ‎(third-person singular simple present burdens, present participle burdening, simple past and past participle burdened)

  1. (transitive) To encumber with a burden (in any of the noun senses of the word).
    to burden a nation with taxes
    • Bible, 2 Corinthians viii. 13
      I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.
    • Shakespeare
      My burdened heart would break.
  2. To impose, as a load or burden; to lay or place as a burden (something heavy or objectionable).
    • Coleridge
      It is absurd to burden this act on Cromwell.
Translations[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French bordon. See bourdon.

Noun[edit]

burden ‎(plural burdens)

  1. (music) A phrase or theme that recurs at the end of each verse in a folk song or ballad.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 2
      [...] Foot it featly here and there; / And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.
    • 1846, E. A. Poe, The Philosophy of Composition
      As commonly used, the refrain, or burden, not only is limited to lyric verse, but depends for its impression upon the force of monotone - both in sound and thought.
  2. The drone of a bagpipe.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ruddiman to this entry?)
  3. (obsolete) Theme, core idea.

Anagrams[edit]