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burden, burthen (old edd. chiefly “burthen”; in several passages there is a play between the sense of ‘load’ and sense 2 or 3, e.g. Gent. I. ii. 82, R3 IV. iv. 168
1. freight, carrying capacity of a ship All'sW. II. iii. 215 “a vessel of too great a burden” ; freq. Troil. I. iii. 71 “matter needless, of importless burden.”
2. birth (abstract and concrete) Err. I. i. 55, V. i. 345 “bore thee at a burden two fair sons,” Wint. IV. iii. [iv.] 266, John III. i. 90 “Pray that their burdens may not fall this day,” Sonn. lix. 4.
3. bass or undersong AYL. III. ii. 263 “I would sing my song without a ” ; fig. Shr. I. ii. 68; refrain Tp. I. ii. 380 “And, sweet sprites, the bear,” Wint. IV. iii. [iv.] 195 “such . . . b-s of dildos.”
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hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references in text-specific dictionaries from this page (9):
    • William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1.2
    • William Shakespeare, King John, 3.1
    • William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 3.2
    • William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, 1.1
    • William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, 5.1
    • William Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1.2
    • William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, 4.3
    • William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, 4.4
    • William Shakespeare, Sonnets, lix
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