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[bur-oh, buhr-oh] /ˈbɜr oʊ, ˈbʌr oʊ/
a hole or tunnel in the ground made by a rabbit, fox, or similar animal for habitation and refuge.
a place of retreat; shelter or refuge.
verb (used without object)
to make a hole or passage in, into, or under something.
to lodge in a burrow.
to hide.
to proceed by or as if by digging.
verb (used with object)
to put a burrow into (a hill, mountainside, etc.).
to hide (oneself), as in a burrow.
to make by or as if by burrowing:
We burrowed our way through the crowd.
Origin of burrow
late Middle English
1325-75; Middle English borow, earlier burh, apparently gradational variant of late Middle English beri burrow, variant of earlier berg refuge, Old English gebeorg, derivative of beorgan to protect; akin to Old English burgen grave, i.e., place of protection for a body; see bury
Related forms
burrower, noun
unburrowed, adjective
Can be confused
borough, burro, burrow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for burrow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now Turkey-lurkey was the first to go through the dark hole into the burrow.

    English Fairy Tales Flora Annie Steel
  • They are born in my comfortable house, which is a burrow in the bank.

  • So rapidly does it burrow, that scarcely is one seen before its hind-quarters disappear in the sand.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • Might it not be possible to burrow his way through the soil directly to the tunnel!

    A Royal Prisoner Pierre Souvestre
  • As there was no help outwardly he had to burrow for it inwardly.

    Justin Wingate, Ranchman John H. Whitson
  • Down the burrow she went first, but it was too late; her babies were dead.

    Wild Animals at Home Ernest Thompson Seton
  • You should not escape, but may burrow underground sooner than that.

    The Fifth Queen Ford Madox Ford
British Dictionary definitions for burrow


a hole or tunnel dug in the ground by a rabbit, fox, or other small animal, for habitation or shelter
a small snug place affording shelter or retreat
to dig (a burrow) in, through, or under (ground)
(intransitive) often foll by through. to move through by or as by digging: to burrow through the forest
(intransitive) to hide or live in a burrow
(intransitive) to delve deeply: he burrowed into his pockets
to hide (oneself)
Derived Forms
burrower, noun
Word Origin
C13: probably a variant of borough
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for burrow

"rabbit-hole, fox-hole, etc.," c.1300, borewe, from Old English burgh "stronghold, fortress" (see borough); influenced by bergh "hill," and berwen "to defend, take refuge."


c.1600, "to place in a burrow, from burrow (n.). Figuratively (e.g. to burrow (one's) head) by 1862. Intransitive sense, "to bore one's way into, penetrate" is from 1610s, originally figurative (literal sense, of animals, attested by 1771). Related: Burrowed; borrowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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