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tr.v. burked, burk·ing, burkes
1. To suppress or extinguish quietly; stifle: burked the investigation by failing to reappoint the commission.
2. To avoid; disregard: "To make The Tempest a tragic and depressing play he was willing to burke all the elements that made it the exact opposite" (Robert M. Adams).
3. To execute (someone) by suffocation so as to leave the body intact and suitable for dissection.
[After William Burke (1792-1829), Irish-born grave robber and murderer.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.