Thursday, May 19, 2011

Unusual idiom of the day

Overheard in a used-book store, as the owner delegated tasks to an employee: “I don’t want to burden you out.”

Google Books (a useful informal way to check on words and phrases) turns up nothing. In the Oxford English Dictionary, burden out is obsolete and rare and means “outweigh”: “Whether … they have in them any weight, wherewith to burthen out Opinion” (1668).

I like burden out as an alternative to wear out, though I doubt I’ll ever use it. Reader, have you heard burden out used in this way?

comments: 1

Elaine said...

Goodness, NO. The language is getting degraded, misused, and shredded....Alas, it's a doggie-dog world out there.