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burn (v.)

early 12c., brennen, "be on fire, be consumed by fire; be inflamed with passion or desire, be ardent; destroy (something) with fire, expose to the action of fire, roast, broil, toast; burn (something) in cooking," of objects, "to shine, glitter, sparkle, glow like fire;" chiefly from Old Norse brenna "to burn, light," and also from two originally distinct Old English verbs: bærnan "to kindle" (transitive) and beornan "be on fire" (intransitive).

All these are from Proto-Germanic *brennanan (causative *brannjanan),source also of Middle Dutch bernen, Dutch branden, Old High German brinnan, German brennen, Gothic -brannjan "to set on fire;" but the ultimate etymology is uncertain. Related: Burned/burnt (see -ed); burning.

Figurative use (of passions, battle, etc.) was in Old English. Meaning "be hot, radiate heat" is from late 13c. Meaning "produce a burning sensation, sting" is from late 14c. Meaning "cheat, swindle, victimize" is first attested 1650s. In late 18c, slang, burned meant "infected with venereal disease."

To burn one's bridges(behind one) "behave so as to destroy any chance of returning to a status quo" (attested by 1892 in Mark Twain), perhaps ultimately is from reckless cavalry raids in the American Civil War. Of money, to burn a hole in (one's) pocket "affect a person with a desire to spend" from 1850.

Slavic languages have historically used different and unrelated words for the transitive and intransitive senses of "set fire to"/"be on fire:" for example Polish palić/gorzeć, Russian žeč'/gorel.

burn (n.)

c. 1300, "act or operation of burning," from Old English bryne, from the same source as burn (v.). Until mid-16c. the usual spelling was brenne. Meaning "mark or injury made by burning" is from 1520s. Slow burn first attested 1938, in reference to U.S. movie actor Edgar Kennedy (1890-1948), who made it his specialty.

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Definitions of burn
1
burn (v.)
destroy by fire;
They burned the house and his diaries
Synonyms: fire / burn down
burn (v.)
shine intensely, as if with heat;
The candles were burning
Synonyms: glow
burn (v.)
undergo combustion;
Maple wood burns well
Synonyms: combust
burn (v.)
cause a sharp or stinging pain or discomfort;
The sun burned his face
Synonyms: bite / sting
burn (v.)
cause to burn or combust;
The sun burned off the fog
Synonyms: combust
burn (v.)
feel strong emotion, especially anger or passion;
She was burning with anger
He was burning to try out his new skies
burn (v.)
cause to undergo combustion;
burn garbage
The car burns only Diesel oil
Synonyms: incinerate
burn (v.)
execute by tying to a stake and setting alight;
Witches were burned in Salem
burn (v.)
spend (significant amounts of money);
He has money to burn
burn (v.)
feel hot or painful;
My eyes are burning
burn (v.)
burn, sear, or freeze (tissue) using a hot iron or electric current or a caustic agent;
Synonyms: cauterize / cauterise
burn (v.)
get a sunburn by overexposure to the sun;
Synonyms: sunburn
burn (v.)
create by duplicating data;
burn a CD
Synonyms: cut
burn (v.)
use up (energy);
burn off calories through vigorous exercise
Synonyms: burn off / burn up
burn (v.)
damage by burning with heat, fire, or radiation;
The iron burnt a hole in my dress
2
burn (n.)
pain that feels hot as if it were on fire;
Synonyms: burning
burn (n.)
a browning of the skin resulting from exposure to the rays of the sun;
Synonyms: tan / suntan / sunburn
burn (n.)
an injury caused by exposure to heat or chemicals or radiation;
burn (n.)
a place or area that has been burned (especially on a person's body);
Synonyms: burn mark
burn (n.)
damage inflicted by fire;
From wordnet.princeton.edu