- 1 [in singular] A rough sounding of the sound r, especially with a uvular trill (a “French r”) as in certain Northern England accents.[ mid 18th century]More example sentences
- The Scotch-Irish are unlikely to share speech patterns and the characteristic burr (a distinctive trilled ‘r’) with the Scots.
- Scots may lose their regional ties in becoming New Zealanders, and the accent softens or disappears apart from the Southland burr.
- The best way I know of to learn a uvular trill, sometimes called a 'burr', is by practicing gargling.
- 1.1(Loosely) a regional accent: a soft Scottish burrMore example sentences
- ‘The walls in York are more museums,’ he says, in a soft Dublin accent that's overlaid by a Cheshire burr.
- Now, he says in his soft Scots burr, he doesn't know what sort of accent he has.
- ‘So sad what's happened with Scottish football,’ he mourns in his soft Fife burr.
- 1.2A whirring sound, such as a telephone ringing tone or the sound of cogs turning.[ early 19th century]More example sentences
- We made do with the pips on digital Radio 2, and the engaged burr of mobiles as the servers overflowed.
- It consists of hums and burrs and the shush of compressed air engaging and disengaging continually.
- A heartbeat, a voice, and a burr of conscience I continue to gratefully hear.
- 2 (also bur) A rough edge or ridge left on an object (especially of metal) by the action of a tool or machine.[ early 17th century]More example sentences
- When done, give the wall a light sanding to knock down any burrs or ridges.
- It slices through any material (including six inches of titanium) without leaving any burrs, or rough edges.
- Use a metal file to remove any burrs and to dull the sharp cut edges.
- 3 (also bur) A small rotary cutting tool with a shaped end, used chiefly in woodworking and dentistry.[ mid 19th century]More example sentences
- He or she then uses the shaver burr to reshape the head/neck junction to restore normal head/neck offset, which eliminates impingement.
- The burr, connected to a drive shaft and a turbine powered by compressed air, rotates at speeds up to 200 000 rpm
- The assistant smooths irregular edges with a motorized burr.
- 3.1A small surgical drill for making holes in bone, especially in the skull.More example sentences
- The surgeon makes a 6-cm incision and uses a 5.0 mm round cutting burr to drill the burr hole.
- This infusion is not stopped until the burr hole is drilled and the surgeon is ready to begin microelectrode recording.
- A further development was to use a brace and bit to ream out (as bone dust) burr holes about 1 cm in diameter.
- 4A siliceous rock used for millstones.[ mid 17th century]More example sentences
- The urban manufacturers in Edinburgh and Glasgow usually made up their millstones from a centre-piece of indigenous rock with radial French burr segments around it.
- The best and most popular stone ever discovered for grinding wheat into white flour is the French Burr.
- The miller knows that there should be a difference in the dress for hulling stones, splitting or cracking stones, wheat stones, middlings stones and vertical burr stones.
- 4.1A whetstone.More example sentences
- These stones became the first burrs for grist mills.
- 5 (also bur) A ring of bone at the base of a deer’s antler. Also called coronet.[ late 16th century: possibly from French bourre 'vine bud' or related to burl1]More example sentences
- To make a comb the craftsman first cut off the tines or points and the burr (the swelling where the antler joined the skull) leaving just the beam (main part of the antler).
- I signed this piece by carving my initials and 07 on the back of the burr.
- This tie is done on a prairie find sun-bleached mule deer shed antler burr. I augmented the color of the burr with my own dye technique.
- 6 variant spelling of bur.
verbBack to top
- 1 [no object] Speak with an accent in which the sound r is trilled: [with direct speech]: “I like to have a purrrpose,” she burrs[ early 19th century]More example sentences
- They started the singing of their hymns, Newlands burring away in his boots and MacDougall slicing the words like cheese.
- The Scots people are much nicer - proud, a little cold perhaps - but they were charming, with their lovely soft burring voices.
- "Ye're loaded, are ye, Parcy?" asked the genial host in the burring Northumbrian voice we know so well even to-day.
- 1.1Make a whirring sound such as a telephone ringing tone or the sound of cogs turning.[ late 18th century]More example sentences
- First one brightly colored lorikeet burred past Zack's head, then another and another, until at least nine or ten birds were perched on the rail above the zookeeper's head.
- If a contraption doesn't beep or burr when he switches it on, it's just too demeaning for him even to contemplate.
- At this point, I make a burring noise and replace the receiver.
- 2 [with object] Form a rough edge on (metal): the handles were fixed by rivets burred over on the shield’s front[ late 19th century]More example sentences
- I hit my first snag when I managed to burr one of the screws, which made it impossible to remove the arm at all!
- If you use a 24-tooth blade, which is what is needed for thin metal, there will be very little burring of the edge.
a burr under one's saddle
- North American • informal A persistent source of irritation: he had been a burr under the saddle of the government in his timeMore example sentences
- Frankly I think the Empress was just being cranky but it irritated me all the same and the incident was still a burr under my saddle today.
- I am moved to write you about a book review in your last issue and a closely related subject that has long been a burr under my saddle.
- ‘He has a burr under his saddle,’ I said and the boy turned around, startled.
sense 1 of the noun of the noun and verb is probably imitative, the word burr incorporating the uvular r, but it is also possibly a figurative use borrowed from sense 2 of the noun, sense 3 of the noun, and sense 4 of the noun and sense 2 of the verb, the r being a ‘rough’ sound. See also bur.
More definitions of burrDefinition of burr in:
- The British & World English dictionary