Borne or Born | Meaning, Difference & Examples

Borne and born are both past participle forms of the verb ‘bear’, meaning ‘carry’. They’re both pronounced in the same way.

  • ‘Borne’ is used in most cases, when you’re just referring to bearing (carrying) something. It’s also the spelling used in compound words like ‘airborne’ (carried through the air) and ‘blood-borne’ (transmitted by blood).
  • ‘Born’ is used when you’re referring to birth, whether literally (to childbirth) or figuratively.
Examples: ‘Borne’ in a sentence Examples: ‘Born’ in a sentence
Mosquito-borne diseases are a major problem in tropical climates. He was born in New York in the hot summer of 1957.
She had borne the responsibility for many years. Greatness is often born from adversity.
My hard work has finally borne fruit. She was a born leader.
It must be borne in mind that little research has been done into this subject. The hospital I was born in has been demolished.
Watch out for other potential mistakes with the verb ‘bear’, such as confusing ‘bear’ and ‘bare’, or misusing the expression ‘bear with me‘.

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Born out or borne out?

The correct past participle of the phrasal verb ‘bear out’ (which means ‘confirm’) is borne out.

Example: ‘Borne out’ in a sentence
This assumption was not borne out by the evidence.

‘Born out of’ is also a combination you’ll encounter in some contexts, but it isn’t used to mean ‘confirm’.

Example: ‘Born out of’ in a sentence
The child was born out of wedlock.

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Exception: ‘Borne’ to refer to pregnancy and childbirth

There’s an exception to the rule of using ‘born’ to refer to birth. When the subject is the mother rather than the child, the correct term is ‘borne’, not ‘born’. This can refer both to the moment of birth and to the whole pregnancy.

Example: ‘Borne’ to refer to childbirth
Daniel’s mother had borne three children before him. He was born eight years after his eldest sibling.

Worksheet: Borne or born

Do you want to test your knowledge of the difference between ‘born’ and ‘borne’? Use the practice worksheet below! Fill in either ‘born’ or ‘borne’ in each of the sentences.

  1. The second hypothesis was _____ out by the data.
  2. I was _____ on March 12, 1985.
  3. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that spreads by air_____ transmission.
  4. Service staff have _____ the brunt of public anger over this policy.
  5. The throne was inherited by the first_____ child of the king.
  6. By the age of 25, she had already _____ four children.
  1. The second hypothesis was borne out by the data.
    • Here, the phrasal verb ‘bear out’, which means ‘confirm’, is used. The past participle form of this verb is ‘borne out’.
  1. I was born on March 12, 1985.
    • Since you’re referring to birth, the form ‘born’ is used.
  1. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that spreads by airborne transmission.
    • ‘Borne’ is combined with ‘air’ to form the adjective ‘airborne’. It means ‘carried through the air’.
  1. Service staff have borne the brunt of public anger over this policy.
    • The phrase ‘bear the brunt of’ means ‘suffer the worst of’. The correct past participle form is ‘borne the brunt of’.
  1. The throne was inherited by the firstborn child of the king.
    • ‘Born’ is combined with ‘first’ to form the adjective ‘firstborn’, meaning ‘eldest’.
  1. By the age of 25, she had already borne four children.
    • Exception: Though this sentence does refer to pregnancy and childbirth, the form ‘borne’ is used when the subject is the mother (instead of the child).

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes for Scribbr about his specialist topics: grammar, linguistics, citations, and plagiarism. In his spare time, he reads a lot of books.