see also: Burden
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈbɜːdn/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈbɝdn/

burden (plural burdens)

  1. A heavy load.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      There were four or five men in the vault already, and I could hear more coming down the passage, and guessed from their heavy footsteps that they were carrying burdens.
  2. A responsibility, onus.
  3. A cause of worry; that which is grievous, wearisome, or oppressive.
    • c. 1710-1730, Jonathan Swift, The Dean's Complaint Translated and Answered
      Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone, / To all my friends a burden grown.
  4. The capacity of a vessel, or the weight of cargo that she will carry.
    a ship of a hundred tons burden
  5. (mining) The tops or heads of stream-work which lie over the stream of tin.
  6. (metalworking) The proportion of ore and flux to fuel, in the charge of a blast furnace.
  7. A fixed quantity of certain commodities.
    A burden of gad steel is 120 pounds.
  8. (obsolete, rare) A birth.
    […] that bore thee at a burden two fair sons.
  9. (medicine) The total amount of toxins, parasites, cancer cells, plaque or similar present in an organism.
Translations Translations Translations Verb

burden (burdens, present participle burdening; past and past participle burdened)

  1. (transitive) To encumber with a literal or figurative burden.
    to burden a nation with taxes
    • Bible, 2 Corinthians viii. 13
      I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii]:
      My burdened heart would break.
  2. (transitive) To impose, as a load or burden; to lay or place as a burden (something heavy or objectionable).
    • It is absurd to burden this act on Cromwell.
Translations Noun

burden (plural burdens)

  1. (music) A phrase or theme that recurs at the end of each verse in a folk song or ballad.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 2
      Foot it featly here and there; / And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.
    • 1846, Edgar Allan Poe, The Philosophy of Composition
      As commonly used, the refrain, or burden, not only is limited to lyric verse, but depends for its impression upon the force of monotone - both in sound and thought.
  2. The drone of a bagpipe.
  3. Theme, core idea.
    the burden of the argument

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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