the shed was burning

be on fire, be alight, be ablaze, blaze, go up, go up in smoke, be in flames, be aflame; smolder, glow

he burned the letters

set fire to, set on fire, set alight, light, ignite, touch off; incinerate; informal torch

I burned my dress with the iron

scorch, singe, sear, char, blacken, brand, sizzle; scald

her face burned

be hot, be warm, be feverish, be on fire; blush, redden, go red, flush, color

she is burning with curiosity

be consumed by/with, be eaten up by/with, be obsessed by/with, be tormented by/with, be beside oneself with

the energy they burn up

consume, use up, expend, go/get through, eat up; dissipate
burn, cauterize, char, scald, scorch, sear, singe
If you're not an experienced cook, you're likely to burn your vegetables, char your meat, and, if you put your face too close to the stove, you might even singe your eyebrows. All of these verbs mean to injure or bring about a change in something by exposing it to fire or intense heat. Burn, which is the most comprehensive term, can mean to change only slightly (she burned her face by staying out in the sun) or to destroy completely (the factory was burned to the ground). To char is to reduce a substance to carbon or charcoal (the beams in the ceiling were charred by the fire). Like char, singe and scorch mean to burn only partially or superficially (scorched the blouse while ironing it; singe the chicken before cooking it). Singeing is often done deliberately to remove the hair, bristles, or feathers from the carcass of an animal or bird. Scald refers specifically to burning with, or as if with, a hot liquid or steam (the cook scalded herself when she spilled the boiling water); it can also mean to parboil or heat to a temperature just below boiling ( scald the milk to make the sauce). Sear is also a term used in cooking, where it means to brown the outside of a piece of meat by subjecting it briefly to intense heat to seal in the juices. When it's human flesh that's being seared in surgery, the correct verb is cauterize, which means to burn for healing purposes (the doctor cauterized the wound to ward off infection).

Thesaurus of popular words. 2014.


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