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Webster 1913 Edition


Burden

Bur′den

(bû′d’n)
,
Noun.
[Written also
burthen
.]
[OE.
burden
,
burthen
,
birthen
,
birden
, AS.
byrðen
; akin to Icel.
byrði
, Dan.
byrde
, Sw.
börda
, G.
bürde
, OHG.
burdi
, Goth.
baúrþei
, fr. the root of E.
bear
, AS.
beran
, Goth.
bairan
. √92. See 1st
Bear
.]
1.
That which is borne or carried; a load.
Plants with goodly
burden
bowing.
Shakespeare
2.
That which is borne with labor or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome, or oppressive.
Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone,
To all my friends a
burden
grown.
Swift.
3.
The capacity of a vessel, or the weight of cargo that she will carry;
as, a ship of a hundred tons
burden
.
4.
(Mining)
The tops or heads of stream-work which lie over the stream of tin.
5.
(Metal.)
The proportion of ore and flux to fuel, in the charge of a blast furnace.
Raymond.
6.
A fixed quantity of certain commodities;
as, a
burden
of gad steel, 120 pounds
.
7.
A birth.
[Obs. & R.]
Shak.
Beast of burden
,
an animal employed in carrying burdens.
Burden of proof
[L.
onus probandi
]
(Law)
,
the duty of proving a particular position in a court of law, a failure in the performance of which duty calls for judgment against the party on whom the duty is imposed.
Syn.
Burden
,
Load
.
A burden is, in the literal sense, a weight to be borne; a load is something laid upon us to be carried. Hence, when used figuratively, there is usually a difference between the two words. Our burdens may be of such a nature that we feel bound to bear them cheerfully or without complaint. They may arise from the nature of our situation; they may be allotments of Providence; they may be the consequences of our errors. What is upon us, as a load, we commonly carry with greater reluctance or sense of oppression. Men often find the charge of their own families to be a burden; but if to this be added a load of care for others, the pressure is usually serve and irksome.

Bur′den

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Burdened
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Burdening
.]
1.
To encumber with weight (literal or figurative); to lay a heavy load upon; to load.
I mean not that other men be eased, and ye
burdened
.
2 Cor. viii. 13.
2.
To oppress with anything grievous or trying; to overload;
as, to
burden
a nation with taxes
.
My
burdened
heart would break.
Shakespeare
3.
To impose, as a load or burden; to lay or place as a burden (something heavy or objectionable).
[R.]
It is absurd to
burden
this act on Cromwell.
Coleridge.
Syn. – To load; encumber; overload; oppress.

Bur′den

(bûr′d’n)
,
Noun.
[OE.
burdoun
the bass in music, F.
bourdon
; cf. LL.
burdo
drone, a long organ pipe, a staff, a mule. Prob. of imitative origin. Cf.
Bourdon
.]
1.
The verse repeated in a song, or the return of the theme at the end of each stanza; the chorus; refrain. Hence: That which is often repeated or which is dwelt upon; the main topic;
as, the
burden
of a prayer
.
I would sing my song without a
burden
.
Shakespeare
2.
The drone of a bagpipe.
Ruddiman.

Bur′den

,
Noun.
[See
Burdon
.]
A club.
[Obs.]
Spenser.

Webster 1828 Edition


Burden

BURD'EN

,
Noun.
burd'n; written also burthen. [L. fero,or porto.]
1.
That which is borne or carried; a load. Hence,
2.
That which is borne with labor or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome or oppressive.
3.
A birth.
4.
The verse repeated in a song, or the return of the theme at the end of each verse; the chorus; so called from the application of this word to the drone or base, and the pipe or string which plays it, in an instrument. A chord which is to be divided, to perform the intervals of music,when open and undivided, is also called the burden.
5.
In common language, that which is often repeated; a subject on which one dwells.
6.
A fixed quantity of certain commodities; as a burden of gad steel, 120 pounds.
7.
The contents of a ship; the quantity or number of tons, a vessel will carry; as a ship of a hundred tons burden.
8.
A club. [Not in use.]

BURD'EN

,
Verb.
T.
burd'n. To load; to lay on a heavy load; to incumber with weight. Hence,
1.
To oppress with any thing grievous; as, to burden a nation with taxes.
2.
To surcharge; as, to burden the memory.

Definition 2022


burden

burden

See also: Bürden

English

Alternative forms

Pronunciation

Noun

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.
    • Jonathan Swift
      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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Raymond to this entry?)
  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 the such present in an organism.
Translations

Verb

burden (third-person singular simple present burdens, present participle burdening, simple past and past participle burdened)

  1. (transitive) To encumber with a burden (in any of the noun senses of the word).
    to burden a nation with taxes
    • Bible, 2 Corinthians viii. 13
      I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.
    • Shakespeare
      My burdened heart would break.
  2. To impose, as a load or burden; to lay or place as a burden (something heavy or objectionable).
    • Coleridge
      It is absurd to burden this act on Cromwell.
Translations
Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Old French bordon. See bourdon.

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, E. A. 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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ruddiman to this entry?)
  3. (obsolete) Theme, core idea.

Anagrams