- Obs. to murder by suffocating so as to leave the body unmarked and fit to be sold for dissection
- to get rid of quietly; evade or suppress, as a parliamentary bill, discussion, etc.
Origin of burkeafter William Burke (1792-1829), executed for the act, in Edinburgh
transitive verbburked burked, burk·ing, burkes
- To suppress or extinguish quietly; stifle: burked the investigation by failing to reappoint the commission.
- To avoid; disregard: “To make The Tempest a tragic and depressing play he was willing to burke all the elements that made it the exact opposite” (Robert M. Adams).
- To execute (someone) by suffocation so as to leave the body intact and suitable for dissection.
Origin of burkeAfter William Burke, (1792–1829), Irish-born grave robber and murderer.
(third-person singular simple present burkes, present participle burking, simple past and past participle burked)
- (UK, slang) Variant spelling of berk.
Eponym, from William Burke.
From Anglo-Norman pronunciation of burgh.