Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

burn out - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyburn out
he/she/itburns out
present participleburning out
past tenseburned out or burnt out
past participleburned out or burnt out
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] if a fire burns out, or if it burns itself out, it stops burning
  2. 2
    [transitive] [usually passive] to completely destroy the inside of something such as a vehicle or building

    an empty house that had been burned out by kids

  3. 3
    [transitive] to burn someone’s home so that they have to leave it
  4. 4
    [intransitive/transitive] if a piece of electrical equipment burns out, or if it is burned out, it gets too hot and stops working
  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] if a strong feeling burns out, or if it burns itself out, you stop feeling it

    His rage had been intense, but it had burned itself out.

  6. 6
    [intransitive/transitive] if you burn out, or if you burn yourself out, you make yourself ill or unable to continue working because you have worked too hard
See also main entry: burn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play