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burn

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verb burn pronunciation in American English /bɜrn/ 
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theyburn
he/she/itburns
present participleburning
past tenseburned or burnt
past participleburned or burnt
  1. 1
    [intransitive] if a fire or flame burns, it produces light and heat

    A fire was burning in the hearth.

    The flames seemed to burn even brighter.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
    1. a.
      [intransitive] [usually progressive] if something is burning, it is being destroyed or damaged by fire. You can also say that it is on fire

      Homes were burning all over the village.

      The truck had been burning for some time.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
    2. b.
      [transitive] to damage or destroy something with fire

      Demonstrators burned flags outside the embassy.

      burn a hole in something:

      The cigarette burned a hole in her blouse.

      burn something to the ground (=completely destroy it by fire):

      The city of Tortona was burned to the ground.

    3. c.
      [transitive] [usually passive] to injure or kill someone by setting fire to them

      According to early reports, many people were burnt to death in their beds.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] if food burns, or if you burn it, it gets spoiled by being cooked for too long or at too high a temperature

    Have you burned the toast again?

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
  3. 3
    [transitive] to injure someone or a part of your body with something hot

    The sand was so hot it burnt my feet.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] if your skin burns, or if the sun burns it, it becomes red and painful because of the heat from the sun

      Wear a hat so you don't burn your neck.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
  4. 4
    [intransitive] if a light is burning, it is switched on

    Sara left all the lights burning.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
  5. 6
    [transitive] to use something such as gas or coal to produce heat or energy

    Jets burn less fuel the higher they go.

    You're not allowed to burn coal in this area.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
  6. 7
    [transitive] to use fat or energy in your body

    To change your body shape you need to burn calories.

    fat-burning exercises

  7. 8
    [intransitive] informal if a vehicle burns somewhere, it goes there very fast
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
  8. 9
    [intransitive] to feel a very strong emotion or a great need for someone or something
    burn with:

    I was burning with curiosity, but didn't dare ask what happened.

    burn to do something:

    I was burning to know how he had gotten along in New York.

  9. 10
    [intransitive/transitive] if a chemical burns something, it damages it by destroying the places it touches

    The acid had burned a hole in my sweater.

  10. 11
    [intransitive/transitive] to produce an unpleasant stinging feeling on your skin

    The antiseptic really burned when I rubbed it on.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] if alcohol or spicy food burns, it produces an unpleasant stinging feeling in your mouth and throat

      The whiskey burned his throat as it went down.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn
  11. 12
    [transitive] computing if you burn a CD-ROM, you put information onto it
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of burn

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