Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was wondering if it is correct to say "I finally release a burden?"

Or should I say "I finally get released from a burden, as like "release somebody from something"?

What are some other usual ways to express the same meaning?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The word burden is derived from a Proto Germanic word that means "that which is borne (or carried)."

The modern English word burden has the same meaning both in metaphoric and literal senses. That is, a burden is a load that is carried on one's back, or a responsibility that is carried on one's shoulders.

Keeping that in mind, "releasing a burden" makes sense, since presumably you have control over the thing you are carrying. I think "released from a burden" sounds odd, and implies that the cart is driving the horse, if you follow my meaning.

I agree with Chris that "laying down a burden" is very common. Again, if you think of literally carrying a load, this makes sense.

You might also say you have "discharged your responsibilities or duties" if you are talking about a metaphorical burden, or "taken a load off" if you are talking about a physical burden (or even sometimes a metaphorical one).

share|improve this answer
    
Very neat explanation. Thanks. +1 –  MoonLight Sep 3 '11 at 2:51

One "lays down a burden", or has "laid down a burden". One might "cast off" a burden as well, particularly if the burden was holding you back from something.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks! Is it correct to say "I finally release a burden?" Or should I say "I finally get released from a burden, as like "release somebody from something"? –  Tim Sep 2 '11 at 21:43
1  
I would say "I have finally been released FROM a burden", since you're the thing that is presumably roaming free now. –  Chris B. Behrens Sep 2 '11 at 21:44
2  
I wouldn't want to make too much of it, but to me there's a suggestion of mixed metaphors in any expression using both burden and release. A burden is something that weighs you down, but release suggests either opening a previously-closed escape route, or disentangling something that had you tied up. So I just don't think I'd put both words in the same sentence. –  FumbleFingers Sep 2 '11 at 22:02
    
People often speak of 'spiritual burdens' or 'emotional burdens'; virtually all of these can be "released" as much as "lain down". One can "be released from" a burden if it has been imposed by an outside authority, say a boss, or a prison system. –  Kyle Pearson Sep 3 '11 at 4:40

One can also be relieved of a burden.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.