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1. To disperse or evaporate as a result of heating. Don't worry, most of the alcohol will burn off once you pour the wine into the hot pan.
2. To cause something to disperse or evaporate through heating. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "burn" and "off." The sun should hopefully burn this fog off before we're due to set sail.
3. To use fire to destroy existing vegetation. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "burn" and "off." We need to burn off the dried brush in the field before the next planting season.
4. To expend something, typically energy or calories. I need to burn off that big dinner, so I'm going to hop on the treadmill for a bit. Let the dog run around outside and burn off some energy.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
burn something off somethingand burn something off
to cause excess volatile or flammable substance to burn until there is no more of it. We burnt the gasoline off the water's surface. Why did you burn off the gasoline?
[for some excess volatile or flammable substance] to burn away or burn up. A film of oil on the surface of the water was burning off, making dense black smoke. The alcohol burned off and left a delicious flavor in the cherries jubilee.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Dissipate by heat, as in The sun will soon burn off the morning fog.
2. Clear land by burning vegetation, as in They've decided to burn off part of the field to prepare it for another planting. This practice has long been common in many parts of the world, but the precise term dates only from the first half of the 1800s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.