bur·y (bĕrē, bûrē)
tr.v. bur·ied, bur·y·ing, bur·iesIdiom:
a. To place (a corpse) in a grave, a tomb, or the sea; inter.
b. To dispose of (a corpse) ritualistically by means other than interment or cremation.
a. To place in the ground; cover with earth: The dog buried the bone. The oil was buried deep under the tundra.
b. To place so as to conceal; hide or obscure: buried her face in the pillow; buried the secret deep within himself.
3. To occupy (oneself) with deep concentration; absorb: buried myself in my studies.
4. To put an end to; abandon: buried their quarrel and shook hands.
5. Slang, Sports
a. To outdo or defeat by a large margin: The team was buried in the first half by its crosstown rivals.
b. To make (a shot) successfully and especially forcefully.
bury the hatchet
To stop fighting; resolve a quarrel.
[Middle English burien, from Old English byrgan; see bhergh-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Word History: Why do many speakers of English pronounce bury like berry instead rhyming it with jury? The answer goes back to early English times. The late Old English form of the verb bury was byrgan, pronounced approximately (büryən). During Middle English times this (ü) sound changed, but with different results in different regions of England: to () as in put in the Midlands, to (ĭ) as in pit in southern England, or to (ĕ) as in pet in southeast England. London was located in the East Midlands dialect zone, but because of its status as the capital, its East Midlands dialect was influenced by southern (Saxon) and southeastern (Kentish) dialects. The normal East Midlands development of (ü) was (), spelled u. Because scribes from the East Midlands pronounced the word with this vowel they tended to spell the word with a u, and this spelling became standard when spellings were fixed after the introduction of printing. The word's pronunciation, however, is southeastern. Bury is the only word in Modern English with a Midlands spelling and a southeastern pronunciation. Similarly, the word busy, from Old English bysig, bisig, and its verb bysgian, bisgian, “to employ,” is spelled with the East Midlands dialect u, but pronounced with the southern (Saxon) development of (ü), (ĭ).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.