Burrow vs borrow

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Burrow and borrow are words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables burrow and borrow, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A burrow is a tunnel or a hole that has been dug by an animal. Burrow is also used as a verb to mean tunneling or digging a hole. Related words are burrows, burrowed, burrowing. The word burrow is derived from the Old English word, burgh, which means a fortress.

Borrow means to use something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it. To properly borrow something, one should have the permission of the owner to use it and then return it. One may borrow money from a bank, in which case, one pays for the privilege. One may borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor, in which case, you should repay the favor in kind. Borrow is a verb; related words are borrows, borrowed, borrowing. The word borrow is derived from the Old English word, borgian, which means to lend.


Upon arriving in the New World, the Germans noticed how the native groundhogs would come out of their burrows before the snow melted. (Savannah Morning News)

The mole is a revolutionary heat probe designed to burrow 16 feet into the Martian soil and take the planet’s temperature. (Business Insider India)

The O’Reilly Center for Hope will bring multiple agencies under one roof to provide resources and education for those in poverty, homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, struggling with mental health issues or folks just needing a shower or to borrow a shovel from the tool lending library. (Springfield News-Leader)

Tencent in talks with banks to borrow US$6 billion in Asia’s biggest syndicated loan for a Chinese firm since 2019 (South China Morning Post)