Borne vs. born

Borne is the past tense and past participle of bear in all senses not related to birth. So it’s the appropriate word where bear means to carry—making it the correct spelling in the phrasal verb borne out (e.g., ”his prediction was not borne out in reality”) and in phrasal adjectives such as food-bornemosquito-borne, and water-borne. It also works where bear means to produce or to bring about, which means it’s the correct spelling in the phrase borne fruit (e.g., “our plan has borne fruit”) even though the word comes perilously close to birth in this sense.

Born is also a past tense and past participle of bear, but it’s reserved mainly for use as the passive verb in contexts relating to birth. So it’s the correct spelling in constructions such as, “he was born yesterday.” It’s also used in phrasal adjectives describing where someone was born—e.g., Brazil-born, Chicago-born—and it’s sometimes used as a synonym of innate (e.g., “she is a born pianist”).

Examples

All costs associated with this recall will be borne by Toyota and not our customers. [RTE]

It might equally be surmised that his 50-year silence was a ‘holy silence,’ born of the desire to live quietly and out of public view. [Spiked Online]

And it must also be borne in mind that Gadhafi clearly has substantial support as well as opposition. [Forbes]

Already the campaign has borne fruit. [Guardian]

Dr. Rodriguez is a native Texan, born and raised in Houston. [Dentistry IQ]

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