Definition of born in English:

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Pronunciation: /bôrn/
past participle of bear1 (sense 4).


1Existing as a result of birth: he was born in Seattle babies born to women aged 25-29 he was born into a family of wine merchants she was born Margaret Roberts [in combination]: a German-born philosopher
More example sentences
  • Cases of babies born with low birth weights are five per cent higher near landfill sites.
  • We know the story about the baby who was born to migrant parents in an occupied country.
  • She was born with a rare birth defect that left her with a huge growth on her neck and has spent most of her early life in hospital.
1.1 [attributive] Having a natural ability to do a particular job or task: he’s a born engineer
More example sentences
  • He thrived in the training and displayed the natural attributes of a born soldier.
  • Are you a born investment banker?
  • Are you a born athlete?
1.2 [with infinitive] Perfectly suited or trained to do a particular job or task: they believe that they are born to rule
More example sentences
  • Balcon felt he was born to be a soldier.
  • He was born to be an actor, and when he conscientiously set himself to a task he could blend his genius with a thoroughly sound and intelligent craftsmanship.
  • He was born to serve and served his primary constituency diligently.
1.3(Of a thing) brought into existence: her own business was born
More example sentences
  • The idea was born from the damage done to the local tourist industry in the wake of the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
  • The idea was born when Prince William enjoyed a pint of cider in the hotel's Road Hole Bar last summer.
  • In large measure this had to do with the circumstances in which the Association movement was born.
1.4 (born of) Existing as a result of a particular situation or feeling: a power born of obsession
More example sentences
  • You and your friends will share extraordinary bonds, born of surviving desperate situations.
  • Some might say this is a complete waste of time, but it is born of hope, not despair, and I will keep trying.
  • His more recent vehicle, the Hunter Foundation, is a creature born of his obsession with Carnegie.


On the difference between born and borne, see bear1 (usage).



born and bred

By birth and upbringing, especially when considered a typical product of a place: he was a born and bred product of the Bronx
More example sentences
  • ‘A lot of it is what I remember from my youth,’ said David, who was born and bred in Cowling.
  • Tom is London born and bred, which is clear from his sound, his voice, but it isn't London-y in an overbearing way either, which is nice.
  • But it could demonstrate a twisted streak in him that he would not want to play for the country both he and his parents were born and bred in.

born on the wrong side of the blanket


born with a silver spoon in one's mouth

see silver.

I (she, etc.) wasn't born yesterday

Used to remind someone that one isn’t naive.
Example sentences
  • I may sell Bibles but I know which end is up and I wasn't born yesterday and I know where I'm going!
  • Listen, I wasn't born yesterday… you think that if you're nice to Jeremy he'll open up to you and that's when you strike in for the kill.
  • Now Pet, you of all people know I wasn't born yesterday.

in all one's born days

Used to express surprise or shock at something one has not encountered before: in all my born days I’ve never seen the like of it
More example sentences
  • It's not going to be very difficult to convince me to attend anything at the Esplanade Studios in future, because I have never heard such amazing sound in a gig in all my born days.
  • ‘Never in all our born days!’ the woman exclaimed.
  • Finally he pushed his chair back, wiped his mouth with a sleeve that had seen such service often before and spoke: ‘Bruther, that was the best feed I ever had in all my born days.’

there's one (or a sucker) born every minute

There are many gullible people.
Example sentences
  • Nevertheless, the comments show that there's one born every minute.
  • Astrology proves one thing and one thing only—there's one born every minute.
  • However, generally accepted accounting principles, in their wisdom, also give companies the flexibility to book the revenue when such claims are filed (on the assumption, I guess, that there's a sucker born every minute.)


Old English boren, past participle of beran 'to bear' (see bear1).

Words that rhyme with born

adorn, borne, bourn, Braun, brawn, corn, dawn, drawn, faun, fawn, forborne, forewarn, forlorn, freeborn, lawn, lorn, morn, mourn, newborn, Norn, outworn, pawn, prawn, Quorn, sawn, scorn, Sean, shorn, spawn, suborn, sworn, thorn, thrawn, torn, Vaughan, warn, withdrawn, worn, yawn

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: born

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