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burp

burp A belch, or emission of gas from the mouth. This onomatopoeic word — meant to sound like a belch — was first recorded in American speech in 1932. There are also verbs both intransitive and transitive: ‘At the hot springs the mud bubbles and burps,’ (Spectator) and ‘In the USA babies are burped during and at the end of feeds’ (The Lancet).

Doctors may include burping in the term flatulence, and for a burp may use the old word ‘eructation’: ‘The savour of his meate by eructation ascendeth’ (Elyot 1533). Because the burps usually come from the stomach, they often bring with them the smell and taste of partly digested food. This is why carnivores may have very pungent breath, and why cows belch methane.

The gas emitted is mostly air, sometimes swallowed by people eating or drinking nervously, or in a hurry; also by pregnant women, and by others trying to relieve the discomfort of nausea or heartburn. However, burps of other gases can be produced; for example, eating bicarbonate of soda to relieve heartburn causes a chemical reaction with acid in the stomach or oesophagus, and produces burps of carbon dioxide. Carbonated drinks can generate spectacular carbon dioxide belches.

Adam Hart-Davis

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burp

burp / bərp/ inf. • v. [intr.] noisily release air from the stomach through the mouth; belch. ∎  [tr.] make (a baby) belch after feeding, typically by patting its back. • n. a noise made by air released from the stomach through the mouth; a belch.

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burp

burpburp, chirp, Earp, slurp, twerp, usurp •Antwerp

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