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Unknown. Formally, it appears to be a variant of borough and thus from Old English burh, from Proto-Germanic *burgz (stronghold, city), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰerǵʰ- (high). but this sense is not known in Old English burh or in any Germanic cognate languages.

It may be related to bergh and bury (“to dig”), in which case it would be derived from Proto-Indo-European *bʰergʰ- (to protect, defend, save, preserve).



burrow (plural burrows)

  1. A tunnel or hole, often as dug by a small creature.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the burrows the real rabbits lived in.
  2. (mining) A heap or heaps of rubbish or refuse.
  3. Obsolete form of barrow. A mound.
  4. Obsolete form of borough. An incorporated town.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for burrow in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)



burrow (third-person singular simple present burrows, present participle burrowing, simple past and past participle burrowed)

  1. (intransitive) To dig a tunnel or hole.