burn vs cauterise what difference

what is difference between burn and cauterise



  • (General American) IPA(key): /bɝn/, enPR: bûrn
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /bɜːn/, enPR: bûn
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)n
  • Homophone: Bern

Etymology 1

From Middle English bernen, birnen, from Old English birnan (to burn), metathesis from Proto-West Germanic *brinnan, from Proto-Germanic *brinnaną (to burn), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrenw- (compare Middle Irish brennim (drink up), bruinnim (bubble up)), present stem from *bʰrewh₁-, *bʰru- (compare Middle Irish bréo (flame), Albanian burth (Cyclamen hederifolium, mouth burning), Sanskrit भुरति (bhurati, moves quickly, twitches, fidgets)). More at brew.


burn (countable and uncountable, plural burns)

  1. A physical injury caused by heat, cold, electricity, radiation or caustic chemicals.
    She had second-degree burns from falling in the bonfire.
  2. A sensation resembling such an injury.
    chili burn from eating hot peppers
  3. The act of burning something with fire.
    They’re doing a controlled burn of the fields.
  4. (slang) An intense non-physical sting, as left by shame or an effective insult.
  5. (slang) An effective insult, often in the expression sick burn (excellent or badass insult).
  6. Physical sensation in the muscles following strenuous exercise, caused by build-up of lactic acid.
    One and, two and, keep moving; feel the burn!
  7. (uncountable, Britain, chiefly prison slang) Tobacco.
  8. (computing) The writing of data to a permanent storage medium like a compact disc or a ROM chip.
    • 2003, Maria Langer, Mac OS X 10.2 Advanced (page 248)
      Allow additional burns enables you to create a multisession CD, which can be used again to write more data.
  9. The operation or result of burning or baking, as in brickmaking.
    They have a good burn.
  10. (uncountable) A disease in vegetables; brand.
  11. (aerospace) The firing of a spacecraft’s rockets in order to change its course.
    • 2004, David Baker, Jane’s Space Directory (page 529)
      On 4 March 1999, the MCO performed its second course correction manoeuvre with a burn involving its four thrusters []
Derived terms


burn (third-person singular simple present burns, present participle burning, simple past and past participle burned or (mostly Commonwealth) burnt)

  1. (transitive) To cause to be consumed by fire.
  2. (intransitive) To be consumed by fire, or in flames.
  3. (transitive) To overheat so as to make unusable.
  4. (intransitive) To become overheated to the point of being unusable.
  5. (transitive) To make or produce by the application of fire or burning heat.
  6. (transitive) To injure (a person or animal) with heat or chemicals that produce similar damage.
  7. (transitive, surgery) To cauterize.
  8. (transitive, intransitive) To sunburn.
  9. (transitive) To consume, injure, or change the condition of, as if by action of fire or heat; to affect as fire or heat does.
    • This dry sorrow burns up all my tears.
    • 1965, Amplified Bible, James 4:2
      You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.
  10. (intransitive) To be hot, e.g. due to embarrassment.
  11. (chemistry, transitive) To cause to combine with oxygen or other active agent, with evolution of heat; to consume; to oxidize.
  12. (chemistry, dated) To combine energetically, with evolution of heat.
  13. (transitive, computing) To write data to a permanent storage medium like a compact disc or a ROM chip.
  14. (transitive, slang) To betray.
  15. (transitive, slang) To insult or defeat.
  16. (transitive) To waste (time); to waste money or other resources.
  17. In certain games, to approach near to a concealed object which is sought.
  18. (intransitive, curling) To accidentally touch a moving stone.
  19. (transitive, card games) In pontoon, to swap a pair of cards for another pair, or to deal a dead card.
  20. (photography) To increase the exposure for certain areas of a print in order to make them lighter (compare dodge).
  21. (intransitive, physics, of an element) To be converted to another element in a nuclear fusion reaction, especially in a star
  22. (intransitive, slang, card games, gambling) To discard.
  23. (transitive, slang) To shoot someone with a firearm.
  24. (transitive, espionage) To compromise (an agent’s cover story).
    • 2011, Thomas H. Cook, Night Secrets
      He had already burned his cover with Mrs. Phillips, and it was not a mistake he intended to make again.
    • 2013, Vanessa Kier, Vengeance: The SSU Book 1
      Eventually they’d report back to Ryker, and he still didn’t know if Ryker had personally burned his cover and sent assassins after him, or if the SSU had a mole. Until he knew for certain, he had to play this safe.
  25. (transitive, espionage) To blackmail.
    • 1979, John le Carré, Smiley’s People
      How does Leipzig burn him precisely?” Enderby insisted. “What’s the pressure? Dirty pix—well, okay. Karla’s a puritan, so’s Kirov. But I mean, Christ, this isn’t the fifties, is it? []
Derived terms
Related terms
  • combust

Etymology 2

From Middle English burn, bourne, from Old English burne, burna (spring, fountain), Proto-West Germanic *brunnō, from Proto-Germanic *brunnô, *brunō. Cognate with West Frisian boarne, Dutch bron, German Brunnen; also Albanian burim (spring, fountain), Ancient Greek φρέαρ (phréar, well, reservoir), Old Armenian աղբիւր (ałbiwr, fount). Doublet of bourn. More at brew.


burn (plural burns)

  1. (Northern England, Scotland) A stream.
    • 1881, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque:
      He may pitch on some tuft of lilacs over a burn, and smoke innumerable pipes to the tune of the water on the stones.
    • 2008, James Kelman, Kieron Smith, Boy, Penguin 2009, page 105:
      When it was too heavy rain the burn ran very high and wide and ye could never jump it.
Derived terms
  • Burnmouth
Related terms
  • bourn


  • Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “burn”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  • Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967
  • Northumberland Words, English Dialect Society, R. Oliver Heslop, 1893–4




  1. wood


  • 1886, C. F. Armstrong (Edward Micklethwaite Curr, ed.), The Australian Race: Its Origins, Languages, Customs, Place of Landing in Australia, and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent



Middle English bourne, from Old English burne, burna (spring, fountain).

Cognate with West Frisian boarne, Dutch bron, German Brunnen; also Albanian burim (spring, fountain), Ancient Greek φρέαρ (phréar, well, reservoir), Old Armenian աղբիւր (ałbiwr, fount).


burn (plural burns)

  1. A small river.


“burn” in the Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries.


Alternative forms

  • cauterize


cauterise (third-person singular simple present cauterises, present participle cauterising, simple past and past participle cauterised)

  1. To burn, sear, or freeze tissue using a hot iron, electric current or a caustic agent.
    • 1996, Janette Turner Hospital, Oyster, Virago Press, paperback edition, page 198
      Just when you think you are extricating yourself, just when you think you are cauterised and ready to leave, it resurfaces. Once you’ve been infected, you’re never again completely free.


  • cauteries

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