Definition of burnet in English:



  • 1A herbaceous plant of the rose family, with globular pinkish flower heads and leaves composed of many small leaflets.

    Genus Sanguisorba, family Rosaceae: several species, including the edible salad burnet (S. minor), and the spiny thorny burnet (S. spinosum) of the eastern Mediterranean

    • ‘I use thyme, sage, rosemary, chives, basil, dill, sorrel, salad burnet, chervil, oregano and mint as well as parsley.’
    • ‘Species present include great burnet, meadowsweet, greater spearwort, tubular water-dropwort and pepper-saxifrage.’
    • ‘There is always room to include Italian and curly parsley, sorrel, salad burnet, mustard, chard, and kale greens.’
    • ‘Some of our favorites are the long, skinny French radishes, French purslane, arugula, mache, salad burnet, lemon verbena, leeks and, of course, all kinds of tomatoes.’
    • ‘On his menu you might find scallops with lemon verbena infused oil, Brie flavored with burnet, potato and chive griddle cakes and peach cobbler sweetened with stevia.’
  • 2A day-flying moth that typically has greenish-black wings with crimson markings.

    Zygaena and other genera, family Zygaenidae

    • ‘In June the Burnet moths begin to emerge.’
    • ‘The six-spot burnet moth is brightly coloured and is active by day.’
    • ‘A handful of the first Burnet Moths of the year were seen on Lancing Ring meadows and around the dewpond.’


Middle English (denoting a kind of dark brown woollen cloth): from Old French brunete, burnete (denoting brown cloth or a plant with brown flowers), diminutives of brun ‘brown’.