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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English burre, perhaps related to Old English byrst (bristle). Cognate with Danish burre, borre (burdock, burr), Swedish borre (sea-urchin).


burr (plural burrs)

  1. A sharp, pointy object, such as a sliver or splinter.
  2. A bur; a seed pod with sharp features that stick in fur or clothing.
  3. A small piece of material left on an edge after a cutting operation.
  4. A thin flat piece of metal, formed from a sheet by punching; a small washer put on the end of a rivet before it is swaged down.
  5. A broad iron ring on a tilting lance just below the grip, to prevent the hand from slipping.
  6. The ear lobe.
  7. The knot at the bottom of an antler.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

Onomatopoeia, influenced by bur. Compare to French bruire


burr (plural burrs)

  1. A rough humming sound.
  2. A uvular "r".


burr (third-person singular simple present burrs, present participle burring, simple past and past participle burred)

  1. (transitive) To pronounce with a uvular "r".
  2. (intransitive) To make a rough humming sound.
    • 1950, C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Collins, 1998, Chapter 7,
      The first thing Lucy noticed as she went in was a burring sound, and the first thing she saw was a kind-looking old she-beaver sitting in the corner with a thread in her mouth working busily at her sewing machine, and it was from it that the sound came.

Etymology 3[edit]

Origin uncertain.


burr (plural burrs)

  1. (obsolete) A metal ring at the top of the hand-rest on a spear.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter iv, in Le Morte Darthur, book XXI:
      And there kyng Arthur smote syr mordred vnder the shelde wyth a foyne of his spere thorughoute the body more than a fadom / And whan syr Mordred felte that he had hys dethes wounde / He thryst hym self wyth the myght that he had vp to the bur of kynge Arthurs spere / And right so he smote his fader Arthur wyth his swerde holden in bothe his handes

Etymology 4[edit]

From burl.


burr (plural burrs)

  1. (Britain) Alternative spelling of burl


Alternative forms[edit]


  1. (Gheg) husband
  2. (Gheg) man