One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small stream, especially one that flows intermittently or seasonally.
brook, rivulet, rill, runnel, streamlet, freshetView synonyms
- ‘One of the many good touches in this book is its linguistic bent, as in the explanation of tilth and bourn, farming terms carried as baggage to the American Utopia.’
- ‘The bourns are its arteries.’
- ‘I-I-I don't get you, he says thickly, in a stuttered upper-pitch that probably succeeds in shaving a bourne of phlegm off his wind-pipe.’
- ‘But it seems likely that all sorcery will vanish with the bourns.’
Middle English: southern English variant of burn.
1A limit or boundary.
limit, end, edge, side, farthest point, boundary, border, frontier, boundary line, bound, bounding line, partition line, demarcation line, end point, cut-off point, terminationView synonyms
- ‘In works such as these, the paint-splattered canvases, which suggest the wilder bourns of Abstract Expressionism, are subjected to all manner of indignities.’
- ‘These spaces of dispersion are marked with bourns which disappear amid the fields of scree as stones.’
- 1.1 A goal or destination.
- ‘Northern Afghanistan was to these Assyrian kings the dumping ground for unconsidered numbers of slaves; a bourn from which no captive ever returned.’
- ‘Many more men were taken ‘to that bourne from whence no traveller [sic] returns.’’
- ‘In the most important soliloquy in the play, Hamlet allegedly says: ‘But that the dread of something after death / The undiscovered country, from whose bourn / No traveller returns, troubles the will.’’
- ‘Travellers from distant bournes report that this is less of a problem in Fargo, North Dakota, but round here the sensibilities of Iranian hairdressers and Sri Lankan taxi drivers are gravely considered.’
- ‘It's quite hard to say, ‘The undiscover'd country from whose bourn no traveller returns’ when your mum has just died. ‘If it be not now yet it will come.’
Early 16th century (denoting a boundary of a field): from French borne, from Old French bodne (see bound).
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