Several donkeys being used as beasts of burden.
- The definition of a burden is something carried, a worry or sadness, or a responsibility.
- The cargo in a ship is an example of a burden.
- The sadness of your mother's illness is an example of a burden.
- An example of a burden is the duties that come with being a new parent.
- Burden is defined as making heavy with a load or with emotion.
- To pack a mule for a trip is an example of burden.
- An example of burden is to tell someone about your terrible week at work.
- anything that is carried; load
- anything one has to bear or put up with; heavy load, as of work, duty, responsibility, or sorrow
- the carrying of loads: a beast of burden
- the carrying capacity of a ship
Origin of burdenMiddle English birthen from Old English byrthen, akin to Old Norse byrthr, a load: for Indo-European base see bear
- Archaic a bass accompaniment in music
- a chorus or refrain of a song
- the drone of a bagpipe
- a repeated, central idea; theme: the burden of a speech
Origin of burdenMiddle English burdoun, bass in music, refrain from Old French bourdon, a humming, buzzing from Medieval Latin burdo, wind instrument, bumblebee; of echoic origin, originally
- Something that is carried.
- a. Something that is emotionally difficult to bear.b. A source of great worry or stress; weight: The burden of economic sacrifice rests on the workers of the plant.
- A responsibility or duty: The burden of organizing the campaign fell to me.
- A principal or recurring idea; a theme: “The burden of what he said was to defend enthusiastically the conservative aristocracy” ( J.A. Froude )
- Music a. A drone, as of a bagpipe or pedal point.b. Archaic The chorus or refrain of a composition.c. Archaic The bass accompaniment to a song.
- Nautical a. The amount of cargo that a vessel can carry.b. The weight of the cargo carried by a vessel at one time.
- The amount of a disease-causing entity present in an organism.
transitive verbbur·dened, bur·den·ing, bur·dens
- To cause difficulty or distress to; distress or oppress.
- To load or overload.
Origin of burdenMiddle English from Old English byrthen ; see bher-1 in Indo-European roots.Noun, senses 4 and 5, influenced by bourdon
- A heavy load.
- A responsibility, onus.
- A cause of worry; that which is grievous, wearisome, or oppressive.
- The capacity of a vessel, or the weight of cargo that she will carry.
- a ship of a hundred tons burden
- (mining) The tops or heads of stream-work which lie over the stream of tin.
- (metalworking) The proportion of ore and flux to fuel, in the charge of a blast furnace.
- A fixed quantity of certain commodities.
- A burden of gad steel is 120 pounds.
(third-person singular simple present burdens, present participle burdening, simple past and past participle burdened)
- To encumber with a burden (in any of the noun senses of the word).
- to burden a nation with taxes
- To impose, as a load or burden; to lay or place as a burden (something heavy or objectionable).
From Middle English burden, birden, burthen, birthen, byrthen, from Old English byrden, byrþen (“burden, load, weight; charge, duty”), from Proto-Germanic *burþinjō (“burden”), from Proto-Germanic *burþį̄ (“burden”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- (“to carry, bear”). Cognate with Scots burthine (“burden”), Middle Low German borden (“burden”), Middle High German bürden (“burden, load”). Related to Old English byrd (“burden”), German Bürde (“burden, weight”), Danish byrde (“burden”), Swedish börde (“burden”), Icelandic byrði (“burden”).
burden - Legal Definition
- A duty, obligation, or responsibility.
- Something that causes anxiety or is grievous or oppressive.
- In property law, anything that encumbers or restrict the use or value of land, such as an easement, restrictive covenant, or zoning ordinance. The burden indefinitely binds the current and all future owners until it is extinguished, so it is the land, and the landowner, that is burdened by the encumbrance or restriction. See estate.