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burn - definition and synonyms


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verb burn pronunciation in British English /bɜː(r)n/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleburning
past tenseburned or burnt
past participleburned or burnt
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  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.
    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
    2. b.
      [transitive] to damage or destroy something with fire
      Demonstrators burned flags outside the embassy.
      burn a hole in something: The cigarette burnt a hole in her blouse.
      burn something to the ground (=completely destroy it by fire): The city of Tortona was burnt 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 burnt the toast again?
  3. 3
    [transitive] to injure someone or a part of your body with something hot
    The sand was so hot it burnt my feet.
    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
  4. 4
    [transitive] to use something such as petrol 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.
  5. 5
    [transitive] to use fat or energy in your body
    To change your body shape you need to burn calories.
    fat-burning exercises
  6. 6
    [intransitive/transitive] if a chemical burns something, it damages it by destroying the places it touches
    The acid had burnt a hole in my sweater.
  7. 7
    [intransitive/transitive] to produce an unpleasant stinging feeling on your skin
    The antiseptic really burned when I rubbed it on.
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] if alcohol or spicy food burns, it produces an unpleasant stinging feeling in your mouth and throat
      The whisky burned his throat as it went down.
  8. 8
    [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 got on in New York.
  9. 10
    [intransitive] if a light is burning, it is switched on
    Sara left all the lights burning.
  10. 11
    [intransitive] informal if a vehicle burns somewhere, it goes there very fast
  11. 12
    [transitive] computing if you burn a CD-ROM, you put information onto it


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

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