Burned or Burnt | Meaning, Difference & Examples
Burned and burnt are two different spellings of the past tense of the verb ‘burn’, used to refer to the act of undergoing combustion and the act of injuring someone or damaging something by heat or fire.
The spelling tends to vary based on whether you’re using UK or US English:
- In UK English, both ‘burned’ and ‘burnt’ are commonly used for both the verb and adjective sense of the word.
- In US English, ‘burned’ is standard as a verb, but both ‘burned’ and ‘burnt’ can be used as adjectives.
Burned and burnt as adjectives
Burned and burnt can also be used as adjectives meaning ‘injured or damaged by burning’ in both UK and US English. While both are acceptable, burnt is more common.
Burnt out or burned out (at work)
Burnt out and burned out are the past tense forms of the phrasal verb ‘burn out’ used to refer to the act of becoming exhausted due to excessive stress.
Both can also be used as an adjectival phrase meaning ‘worn out’ or ‘exhausted’. It means the same whether it’s written with the regular ‘-ed’ ending or the irregular ‘-t’ ending. The phrase is hyphenated when it’s used in the attributive position (before the noun it applies to).
Burnt out and burned out can also be used interchangeably to more literally describe something that has been destroyed by fire.
Get burned or get burnt
To get burned/get burnt is a phrase used to mean ‘be cheated’ or ‘be insulted’. While both are acceptable, get burned is more common in both UK and US English.
Other interesting language articles
If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.
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