1. One that burns, especially:
a. A device, as in a furnace, stove, or gas lamp, that is lighted to produce a flame.
b. A device on a stovetop, such as a gas jet or electric element, that produces heat.
a. A unit, such as a furnace, in which something is burned: an oil burner.
b. An incinerator.
c. See combustor.
3. A sharp pain caused by compression of a nerve, often resulting from a sports injury. Also called stinger.
4. An inexpensive cellphone, especially one for which usage is paid in advance and which can be thrown away easily if necessary: “Ana hasn't shown up to her waitressing job … for three days, the address her boss has on file is a dead end, and her cell phone is a burner” (Jessica Derschowitz). Also called burner phone.
on the back burner
As a low priority: kept the project on the back burner all summer.
on the front burner
As a high priority.
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.