1. a rough, prickly case around the seeds of certain plants, as the chestnut or burdock.
  2. any bur-bearing plant.
  3. something that adheres like a bur.
  4. Machinery. burr1(defs 1, 3).
  5. Dentistry. a rotary cutting tool usually of steel or other hard metal shaped into a shank and a head, for removing carious material from teeth and preparing cavities for filling.
  6. Surgery. a cutting tool resembling that of a dentist, used for the excavation of bone.

verb (used with object), burred, bur·ring.

  1. to extract or remove burs from.


  1. Also buhr. a protruding, ragged edge raised on the surface of metal during drilling, shearing, punching, or engraving.
  2. a rough or irregular protuberance on any object, as on a tree.
  3. a small, handheld, power-driven milling cutter, used by machinists and die makers for deepening, widening, or undercutting small recesses.
  4. a lump of brick fused or warped in firing.

verb (used with object)

  1. to form a rough point or edge on.
  2. deburr.


  1. a pronunciation of the r-sound as a uvular trill, as in certain Northern English dialects.
  2. a pronunciation of the r-sound as an alveolar flap or trill, as in Scottish English.
  3. any pronunciation popularly considered rough or nonurban.
  4. a whirring noise.

verb (used without object)

  1. to speak with a burr.
  2. to speak roughly, indistinctly, or inarticulately.
  3. to make a whirring sound.

verb (used with object)

  1. to pronounce (words, sounds, etc.) with a burr.

abbreviation for

  1. Myanmar (international car registration)


  1. Aaron . 1756–1836, US vice-president (1800–04), who fled after killing a political rival in a duel and plotted to create an independent empire in the western US; acquitted (1807) of treason


  1. a small power-driven hand-operated rotary file, esp for removing burrs or for machining recesses
  2. a rough edge left on a workpiece after cutting, drilling, etc
  3. a rough or irregular protuberance, such as a burl on a tree
  4. British a burl on the trunk or root of a tree, sliced across for use as decorative veneer

noun, verb

  1. a variant spelling of bur

verb (tr)

  1. to form a rough edge on (a workpiece)
  2. to remove burrs from (a workpiece) by grinding, filing, etc; deburr


  1. phonetics an articulation of (r) characteristic of certain English dialects, esp the uvular fricative trill of Northumberland or the retroflex r of the West of England
  2. a whirring sound


  1. to pronounce (words) with a burr
  2. to make a whirring sound


  1. a washer fitting around the end of a rivet
  2. a blank punched out of sheet metal


  1. short for buhrstone
  2. a mass of hard siliceous rock surrounded by softer rock


  1. a seed vessel or flower head, as of burdock, having hooks or prickles
  2. any plant that produces burs
  3. a person or thing that clings like a bur
  4. a small surgical or dental drill
  5. a variant spelling of burr 3, burr 4

verb burs, burring or burred

  1. (tr) to remove burs from

“prickly seed vessel of some plants,” c.1300, burre, from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish borre, Swedish hard-borre, Old Norse burst “bristle”), from PIE *bhars- (see bristle (n.)). Transferred 1610s to “rough edge on metal,” which might be the source of the sense “rough sound of the letter -r-” (see burr).


“rough sound of the letter -r-” (especially that common in Northumberland), 1760, later extended to “northern accented speech” in general. Possibly the sound of the word is imitative of the speech peculiarity itself, or it was adapted from one of the senses of bur (q.v.), perhaps from the phrase to have a bur in (one’s) throat (late 14c.), which was a figure of speech for “feel a choking sensation, huskiness.” OED says the Scottish -r- is a lingual trill, not a true burr.


  1. A rotary cutting instrument used in dentistry for excavating decay, shaping cavity forms, and reducing tooth structure.
  2. A drilling tool for enlarging a trephine hole in the cranium.


  1. Variant ofbur

  1. A type of pseudocarp in which the outer surface possesses hooks or barbs. Burs become caught in the feathers or hair of animals, which then carry them away to disperse the seeds.

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