1. To encumber with weight (literal or figurative); to lay a heavy load upon; to load. "I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened." (2 Cor. Viii. 13)

2. To oppress with anything grievous or trying; to overload; as, to burden a nation with taxes. "My burdened heart would break." (Shak)

3. To impose, as a load or burden; to lay or place as a burden (something heavy or objectionable). "It is absurd to burden this act on Cromwell." (Coleridge)

Synonyms: To load, encumber, overload, oppress.

Origin: Burdened; Burdening.

1. That which is borne or carried; a load. "Plants with goodly burden bowing." (Shak)

2. That which is borne with labour or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome, or oppressive. "Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone, To all my friends a burden grown." (Swift)

3. The capacity of a vessel, or the weight of cargo that she will carry; as, a ship of a hundred tons burden.

4. <chemical>

The tops or heads of stream-work which lie over the stream of tin.

5. <chemistry> The proportion of ore and flux to fuel, in the charge of a blast furnace.

6. A fixed quantity of certain commodities; as, a burden of gad steel, 120 pounds.

7. A birth. Beast of burden, an animal employed in carrying burdens. Burden of proof, the duty of proving a particular position in a court of law, a failure in the performance of which duty calls for judgment against the party on whom the duty is imposed.

Synonyms: Burden, Load.

A burden is, in the literal sense, a weight to be borne; a load is something laid upon us to be carried. Hence, when used figuratively, there is usually a difference between the two words. Our burdens may be of such a nature that we feel bound to bear them cheerfully or without complaint. They may arise from the nature of our situation; they may be allotments of Providence; they may be the consequences of our errors. What is upon us, as a load, we commonly carry with greater reluctance or sense of oppression. Men often find the charge of their own families to be a burden; but if to this be added a load of care for others, the pressure is usually serve and irksome.

Origin: OE. Burden, burthen, birthen, birden, AS. Byrthen; akin to Icel. Byrthi, Dan. Byrde, Sw. Borda, G. Burde, OHG. Burdi, Goth. Baorei, fr. The root of E. Bear, AS. Beran, Goth. Bairan. 92. See 1st Bear.

(01 Mar 1998)

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