See also: Burr


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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English burre, perhaps related to Old English byrst (bristle). Cognate with Danish burre, borre (burdock, burr), Swedish borre (sea-urchin).


burr (plural burrs)

  1. A sharp, pointy object, such as a sliver or splinter.
  2. A bur; a seed pod with sharp features that stick in fur or clothing.
  3. A small piece of material left on an edge after a cutting operation.
  4. A thin flat piece of metal, formed from a sheet by punching; a small washer put on the end of a rivet before it is swaged down.
  5. A broad iron ring on a tilting lance just below the grip, to prevent the hand from slipping.
  6. The ear lobe.
  7. The knot at the bottom of an antler.
Derived termsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

Onomatopoeia, influenced by bur. Compare to French bruire


burr (plural burrs)

  1. A rough humming sound.
  2. A uvular "r".


burr (third-person singular simple present burrs, present participle burring, simple past and past participle burred)

  1. (transitive) To pronounce with a uvular "r".
  2. (intransitive) To make a rough humming sound.
    • 1950, C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Collins, 1998, Chapter 7,
      The first thing Lucy noticed as she went in was a burring sound, and the first thing she saw was a kind-looking old she-beaver sitting in the corner with a thread in her mouth working busily at her sewing machine, and it was from it that the sound came.

Etymology 3Edit

Origin uncertain.


burr (plural burrs)

  1. (historical) A metal ring at the top of the hand-rest on a spear.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter iv, in Le Morte Darthur, book XXI:
      And there kyng Arthur smote syr mordred vnder the shelde wyth a foyne of his spere thorughoute the body more than a fadom / And whan syr Mordred felte that he had hys dethes wounde / He thryst hym self wyth the myght that he had vp to the bur of kynge Arthurs spere / And right so he smote his fader Arthur wyth his swerde holden in bothe his handes
    • 1724, John Guillim, A Display of Heraldry:
      burr or ring of iron behind the hand
    • 1819, Abraham Rees, The Cyclopaedia:
      The front of it was defended by an iron-plate, called a vam-plat, that is, an avant-plate, and behind it was a broad iron ring, called a burr.
    • 2003, Thomas Howard Crofts, Fifteenth-century Malory, page 290:
      We are made to witness a cathartic shuffling-off of mortalities and of hatreds: Mordred's pulling himself up to the 'burr' of Arthur's spear is Malory's own detail and one of the most memorable in the book.
    • 2012, Howard Pyle, The Story of the Grail and the Passing of Arthur:
      And when his body was against the burr of the spear, he took his sword in both his hands and he swung the sword above his head, and he smote King Arthur with the edge of the sword upon the helmet.
    • 2015, James B. Tschen-Emmons, Artifacts from Medieval Europe, page 280:
      Many saddles, especially those for use on warhorses, had high burr plates and cantles. this was especially important when knights began using stirrups and the couched lance.

Etymology 4Edit

From burl.


burr (plural burrs)

  1. (Britain) Alternative spelling of burl


Alternative formsEdit



  1. (Gheg) husband
  2. (Gheg) man

Old NorseEdit


From Proto-Germanic *buriz (male offspring; son), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- (to bear, carry, bring). Cognate with Old English byre, Gothic 𐌱𐌰𐌿𐍂 (baur).


burr m

  1. son
    1. (when preceded by genitive of jǫrð) kenning for Thor.
      • verse 1 of the Þrýmskviða, (1936 translation by Henry Adams Bellows)
        Skegg nam at hrista / skǫr nam at dýja, / réð Jarðar burr / um at þreifask.
        He [Thor] shook his beard / his hair was bristling / as the son of Jorth / about him sought.
  2. poet




  • Icelandic: bur


  • burr in Geir T. Zoëga (1910) A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic, Oxford: Clarendon Press

Yatzachi ZapotecEdit


Borrowed from Spanish burro.


burr (possessed xpurr)

  1. donkey
  2. donkey-load

Derived termsEdit


  • Butler H., Inez M. (2000) Diccionario zapoteco de Yatzachi: Yatzachi el Bajo, Yatzachi el Alto, Oaxaca (Serie de vocabularios y diccionarios indígenas “Mariano Silva y Aceves”; 37)‎[2], second electronic edition, Coyoacán, D.F.: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, A.C., page 31