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Burke (v.)

family name (first recorded 1066), from Anglo-Norman pronunciation of Old English burgh. Not common in England itself, but it took root in Ireland, where William de Burgo went in 1171 with Henry II and later became Earl of Ulster.

As shorthand for a royalty reference book, it represents "A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the United Kingdom," first issued 1826, compiled by John Burke (1787-1848). As a verb meaning "murder by smothering," it is abstracted from William Burk, executed in Edinburgh 1829 for murdering several persons to sell their bodies for dissection (the method was chosen because it left no marks on the victims). Related: Burking.

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Definitions of Burke from WordNet
1
burke (v.)
murder without leaving a trace on the body;
burke (v.)
get rid of, silence, or suppress;
burke an issue
2
Burke (n.)
British statesman famous for his oratory; pleaded the cause of the American colonists in British Parliament and defended the parliamentary system (1729-1797);
Synonyms: Edmund Burke
Burke (n.)
United States frontierswoman and legendary figure of the Wild West noted for her marksmanship (1852-1903);
Synonyms: Burk / Martha Jane Burk / Martha Jane Burke / Calamity Jane
From wordnet.princeton.edu