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See also: Burke and burkę



Eponymous, from William Burke.


  • enPR: bûrk, IPA(key): /bɜː(ɹ)k/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)k


burke (third-person singular simple present burkes, present participle burking, simple past and past participle burked)

  1. (Britain, slang) To murder by suffocation
    • 1829 February 2, Times (London), 3/5
      As soon as the executioner proceeded to his duty, the cries of ‘Burke him, Burke him—give him no rope’... were vociferated... ‘Burke Hare too!’
  2. (Britain, slang, historical) To murder for the same purpose as Burke, to kill in order to have a body to sell to anatomists, surgeons, etc.
    • 1833, T. Hook, Parson's Daughter, II. i. 26
      Perhaps he is Burked, and his body sold for nine pounds.
    • 1836, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, Chapter 31:
      ‘You don’t mean to say he was burked, Sam?’ said Mr. Pickwick, looking hastily round.
  3. (Britain, slang) To smother; to conceal, hush up, suppress.
    • 1835, J. A. Roebuck. Dorchester Labourers, 6/1 (note)
      The reporters left it out... Those who spoke in favour of the poor men, were what the reporters call burked.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, "A Bank Fraud," Plain Tales from the Hills, Folio 2005, page 128:
      He put away—burked—the Directors' letter, and went in to talk to Riley
    • 1953, Robert Graves, Poems, 4
      Socrates and Plato burked the issue.

See also[edit]


burke (plural burkes)

  1. (Britain, slang) Alternative form of berk


Northern Sami[edit]


(This etymology is missing. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


  • (Kautokeino) IPA(key): /ˈpurːke/



  1. can, tin


Even e-stem, rk-rkk gradation
Nominative burke
Genitive burkke
Singular Plural
Nominative burke burkket
Accusative burkke burkkiid
Genitive burkke burkkiid
Illative burkii burkkiide
Locative burkkes burkkiin
Comitative burkkiin burkkiiguin
Essive burken
Possessive forms
Singular Dual Plural
1st person burken burkeme burkemet
2nd person burket burkede burkedet
3rd person burkes burkeska burkeset

Further reading[edit]

  • Koponen, Eino; Ruppel, Klaas; Aapala, Kirsti, editors (2002-2008) Álgu database: Etymological database of the Saami languages[1], Helsinki: Research Institute for the Languages of Finland