burden


burden
burden n *load, cargo, freight, lading
burden vb Burden, encumber, cumber, weigh, weight, load, lade, tax, charge, saddle are comparable when they mean to lay a heavy load upon or to lie like a heavy load upon a person or thing.
Burden implies the imposition or the carrying of a load that makes one conscious of its weight and that is therefore regarded as grievous, trying, or oppressive. The term often suggests something that is or seems to be too much to be borne by the mind or spirit
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burdened with too many responsibilities

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exorbitant taxes that burden the workingman

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but this murder—was it to dog him all his life? Was he always to be burdened by his past?— Wilde

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when the aesthetic sense deviates from its proper ends to burden itself with moral intentions ... it ceases to realize morality— Ellis

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Encumber specifically suggests the presence of something that impedes, obstructs, hampers, or embarrasses. Even when the term connotes too great a weight, it stresses the fact that the weight is an annoyance or a clog to one's progress
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he was encumbered by mountains of luggage

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Consequently it is oftener used of things than of persons
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the father had left his inheritance encumberedBelloc

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the vast quantity of mere survivals (customs and beliefs) which encumber modern life— Inge

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awaiting release from the . . . encumbering bulk of gross matter— Montague

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Cumber is close to encumber but it is less likely to stress motion and more likely to stress what perplexes, worries, discommodes, or inconveniences
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he cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict— Emerson

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such an enterprise might well have seemed to him beyond the power of Rome, cumbered already with so many duties— Buchan

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Weigh suggests a load of something (as sorrow, fears, or anxiety) that lies upon the heart, the spirit, or the mind so that it oppresses or depresses it
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canst thou not . . . with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart— Shak.

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mortality weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep— Keats

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Weight differs from weigh in suggesting not a load that oppresses or depresses the heart, mind, or spirit but one that serves as a handicap in a struggle or a disadvantage to be met; the term may be so used that the handicap or disadvantage either may be thought of as residing in the person or thing considered or in the person or thing set against it
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weighted as he was with faults ... he fought his battle bravely— Froude

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it wants to have a House of Commons which is not weighted with nominees of the landed class— George Eliot

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Load and lade carry an implication of overloading but may imply an overabundance that is agreeable as well as one that entails a burden or impresses one as a superfluity
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a store loaded with merchandise of every sort

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load human life with frustration and grief— Cort

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load one with reproaches

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the butler entered with a laden tea tray— Wilde

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come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest— Mt 11:28

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Tax in its relevant sense means to place an exacting burden or demand upon; it suggests something that strains one to the uttermost
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it may tax the highest wisdom of the race to preserve civilization at all— F. N. Robinson

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the war severely taxed the resources of the country

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Charge basically means to load a thing up to its capacity to receive
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charge a battery

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To this sense have been added new connotations especially of loading beyond a capacity to receive or to contain so that the word now often implies a burdening, an overloading, or a weighing down
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the youth was too charged with emotion to speak— Meredith

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songs . . . must not be too charged with meaning ... or they will fail of their effect— Binyori

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all the . . . elemental processes of nature, all the changing, yet abiding physiognomy of earth and sky, were charged for psalmist and prophet with spiritual significance— Lowes

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Saddle usually implies the imposition of a burden or encumbrance, ordinarily by another, though sometimes as a result of one's own fault
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he is saddled with cares because of a hasty marriage

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by what mismanagement ... had a project like this been saddled with Lord Comfrey as chairman?— Jan Struther

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saddling the nation with restrictive laws— New Republic

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Analogous words: oppress, *depress, weigh: *crush, mash
Contrasted words: lighten, alleviate, mitigate, *relieve: *moderate, temper
burden n *substance, purport, gist, core, pith
Analogous words: *subject, matter, subject matter, theme, text, topic

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • burden — bur·den n 1: something that is a duty, obligation, or responsibility the prosecution has the burden of proving every element of the offense the statute imposes undue burden s burden of pleading the necessary elements 2 …   Law dictionary

  • burden — bur‧den [ˈbɜːdn ǁ ˈbɜːrdn] noun [countable] 1. something that causes people a lot of difficulty or worry: • In less prosperous areas the taxes were, for many, such a burden that they lived in poverty. 2. particular costs such as taxes or interest …   Financial and business terms

  • Burden — Bur den (b[^u] d n), n. [Written also burthen.] [OE. burden, burthen, birthen, birden, AS. byr[eth]en; akin to Icel. byr[eth]i, Dan. byrde, Sw. b[ o]rda, G. b[ u]rde, OHG. burdi, Goth. ba[ u]r[thorn]ei, fr. the root of E. bear, AS. beran, Goth.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Burden — ist der Name mehrerer Personen: Chris Burden (* 1946), US amerikanischer Künstler Hugh Burden (1913–1985), britischer Schauspieler und Dramatiker Jane Burden (1839–1914), Modell und Muse der Präraffaeliten Burden ist außerdem der Name mehrerer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Burden — Bur den, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Burdened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Burdening}.] 1. To encumber with weight (literal or figurative); to lay a heavy load upon; to load. [1913 Webster] I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened. 2 Cor. viii. 13.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • burden — burden1 [bʉrd′ n] n. [ME birthen < OE byrthen, akin to ON byrthr, a load: for IE base see BEAR1] 1. anything that is carried; load 2. anything one has to bear or put up with; heavy load, as of work, duty, responsibility, or sorrow 3. the… …   English World dictionary

  • Burden — Bur den (b[^u]r d n), n. [OE. burdoun the bass in music, F. bourdon; cf. LL. burdo drone, a long organ pipe, a staff, a mule. Prob. of imitative origin. Cf. {Bourdon}.] 1. The verse repeated in a song, or the return of the theme at the end of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Burden — Burden, KS U.S. city in Kansas Population (2000): 564 Housing Units (2000): 236 Land area (2000): 0.526134 sq. miles (1.362682 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.009121 sq. miles (0.023623 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.535255 sq. miles (1.386305 sq. km) …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Burden, KS — U.S. city in Kansas Population (2000): 564 Housing Units (2000): 236 Land area (2000): 0.526134 sq. miles (1.362682 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.009121 sq. miles (0.023623 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.535255 sq. miles (1.386305 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • burden — ► NOUN 1) a heavy load. 2) a cause of hardship, worry, or grief. 3) the main responsibility for a task. 4) the main theme of a speech, book, or argument. 5) a ship s carrying capacity. ► VERB 1) load heavily …   English terms dictionary


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