Definition of “burn” - English Dictionary

“burn” in British English

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uk /bɜːn/ us /bɝːn/ burnt or burned, burnt or burned

burn verb (DAMAGE)

B1 [ I or T ] to be hurt, damaged, or destroyed by fire or extreme heat, or to cause this to happen:

He was badly burned in the blaze.
She burned his old love letters.
The brandy burned (= felt too hot on) my throat.
On her first day in the Caribbean Josie was badly burned (= her skin became red and painful from too much sun).
Fair-skinned people burn easily in the sun.
Unable to escape, six people were burned alive/burned to death (= died by burning) in the building.
The vegetables were burned to a crisp (= badly burned).
burn sb at the stake

to kill someone by tying the person to a post and burning them

burn sth to the ground

to completely destroy a building by fire:

The building was burned to the ground ten years ago.

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burn verb (PRODUCE FLAMES)

B1 [ I ] to be on fire, or to produce flames:

The wood was wet and would not burn.
Helplessly we watched our house burning.
A fire was burning brightly in the fireplace.

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burnnoun [ C ]

uk /bɜːn/ us /bɝːn/

(Definition of “burn” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“burn” in American English

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us /bɜrn/ past tense and past participle burned /bɜrnd, bɜrnt/ burnt /bɜrnt/

burn verb (BE IN FLAMES)

[ I/T ] to produce flames and heat:

[ I ] A fire still burned in the fireplace.

[ I/T ] If something burns a fuel, it uses that fuel to produce energy:

[ I ] Some new fuels burn more efficiently than gasoline.
[ M ] Running is a good way to burn off calories.

burn verb (HURT BY FIRE)

[ T ] to hurt, damage, or destroy something by fire or extreme heat:

She burned her hand on the hot iron.
People still burn trash although it’s illegal.
The toast was burned to a crisp (= burned until it was black).

[ T ] infml If you are burned by an activity, you are hurt emotionally or financially because of it:

He got burned in an investment and lost a lot of money.

burnnoun [ C ]


a placed where fire or heat has hurt or damaged something:

One worker had severe burns on his face and hands.

(Definition of “burn” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“burn” in Business English

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uk /bɜːn/ us past tense burned or UK also burnt

[ T ] IT to copy information, recorded music, images, etc. onto a CD:

burn sth to/onto sth The service allows consumers to download a movie, but not to burn it onto a DVD.
be/get burned informal

to lose money in a business deal:

Many investors were badly burned.
burn a hole in sb's pocket

if money is burning a hole in your pocket, you are very eager to spend it

burn the candle at both ends

to work very hard as well as doing other things such as going out late at night, so that you get very little rest

burn the midnight oil

to work late into the night

get/have your fingers burned also burn your fingers

to lose money in a high-risk business deal:

We've had our fingers burned in the past by holding too many risky stocks.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “burn” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)