- that which is carried; load: a horse’s burden of rider and pack.
- that which is borne with difficulty; obligation; onus: the burden of leadership.
- the weight of a ship’s cargo.
- the carrying capacity of a ship.
- Mining. .
- Metallurgy. the minerals charged into a blast furnace or steelmaking furnace.
- Accounting. .
verb (used with object)
- to load heavily.
- to load oppressively; trouble.
- the main point, message, or idea.
- Music. the refrain or recurring chorus of a song.
- something that is carried; load
- something that is exacting, oppressive, or difficult to bearthe burden of responsibility Related adjective: onerous
- the cargo capacity of a ship
- the weight of a ship’s cargo
- (sometimes foll by up) to put or impose a burden on; load
- to weigh down; oppressthe old woman was burdened with cares
- a line of words recurring at the end of each verse of a ballad or similar song; chorus or refrain
- the principal or recurrent theme of a speech, book, etc
- another word for
“a load,” Old English byrðen “a load, weight, charge, duty;” also “a child;” from Proto-Germanic *burthinjo- “that which is borne” (cf. Old Norse byrðr, Old Saxon burthinnia, German bürde, Gothic baurþei), from PIE root *bher- (1) “to bear, to carry; give birth” (see ).
The shift from -th- to -d- took place beginning 12c. (cf. ). Archaic burthen is occasionally retained for the specific sense of “capacity of a ship.” Burden of proof is recorded from 1590s.
“leading idea,” 1640s, a figurative use from earlier sense “refrain or chorus of a song,” 1590s, originally “bass accompaniment to music” (late 14c.), from Old French bordon “bumble-bee, drone,” or directly from Medieval Latin burdonom “drone, drone bass” (source of French bourdon, Spanish bordon, Portuguese bordão, Italian bordone), of echoic origin.