\ ˈbərst How to pronounce burst (audio) \
burst also bursted; bursting

Definition of burst

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to break open, apart, or into pieces usually from impact or from pressure from within the balloon burst the pipes burst
2a : to give way from an excess of emotion my heart will burst
b : to give vent suddenly to a repressed emotion burst into tears burst out laughing
3a : to emerge or spring suddenly burst out of the house burst onto the scene burst into flames
b : launch, plunge burst into song
4 : to be filled to the breaking point bursting with excitement a crate bursting with fruit

transitive verb

1 : to cause to burst burst a balloon
2a : to force open (something, such as a door or a way) by strong or vigorous action
b : to flood over the river burst its banks
3 : to produce by or as if by bursting
burst at the seams
: to be larger, fuller, or more crowded than could reasonably have been anticipated



Definition of burst (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a sudden outbreak a burst of flames especially : a vehement outburst (as of emotion)
b : explosion, eruption a burst of violence
c : a sudden intense effort a burst of speed
d : the duration of fire in one engagement of the mechanism of an automatic firearm bursts of machine-gun fire
2 : an act of bursting the burst of a bubble a burst of confidence
3 : a result of bursting had the plumber fix the burst especially, firearms : a visible puff accompanying the explosion of a shell (see shell entry 1 sense 9b)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for burst

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of burst in a Sentence

Verb Two of the water pipes burst. He burst a blood vessel. The doors suddenly burst open. The cops burst the door open. He burst into the room. The sun burst through the clouds. She burst through the door and yelled “Surprise!”. Noun She ran hard in short bursts toward the end of the race. the burst of a bubble
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On fourth and 4 from the CovCath 41, McClurg handed off to Neal, who was immediately swarmed by three or four Colonels who had burst through the line. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Covington Catholic Colonels win 2nd KHSAA 5A state title in three years," 8 Dec. 2019 Currently with 13 members in the group — six of whom performed in Milwaukee Wednesday — Brockhampton has songs that are bursting with ideas and perspectives, and bombastic, outside-the-box production. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brockhampton brings bangers to Milwaukee's Eagles Ballroom, and 30 fans onto the stage," 5 Dec. 2019 Bright-eyed and stern, often with their impressive wingspans on full display, the bats are detailed to look almost three-dimensional, brimming with an inner life that nearly bursts off the page. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "London Exhibit Celebrates Indian Artists Who Captured Natural History for the East India Company," 4 Dec. 2019 The moment the camera panned to her parents, Andrea and Scott, who were visibly bursting with pride in the audience. Marie Claire, "Selena Gomez & Taylor Swift's Mom Andrea Sang Along With Her Together," 25 Nov. 2019 Minshew, the Jacksonville rookie quarterback who burst onto the NFL scene after Jaguars starter Nick Foles went down in the season opener, has played with moxie while throwing for 1,976 yards with a 98.8 passer rating. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Von Miller hopes the Broncos are about to have their Gardner Minshew moment on Sunday against the Browns," 31 Oct. 2019 In contrast to Netanyahu, whose political career spans three decades, the 60-year-old Gantz is a newcomer who only burst onto the scene over the last year. Josef Federman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Israel’s Netanyahu gives up on forming new coalition," 21 Oct. 2019 In the dead of night on Jan. 28, 1918, a group of white Texas Rangers, U.S. military men and local ranchers burst into the homes of Mexican and Mexican American families in Porvenir, Texas, a small border town west of Marfa. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "'I Cry All the Time.' A Century After 15 Mexican Men and Boys Were Massacred in Texas, Their Descendants Want Recognition," 27 Sep. 2019 But Davis underperformed and was immediately overshadowed by Quinnen Williams, the ebullient nose guard who burst on the scene and won the Outland Trophy. Rainer Sabin | Rsabin@al.com, al, "Alabama DL Raekwon Davis ready to make most of (surprising) senior year," 29 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And it's led to a sudden burst of creativity, resulting in three albums in the past two years. Ed Masley, azcentral, "Phoenix local music picks: Alice Cooper Christmas Pudding, Authority Zero, Jared & the Mill," 2 Dec. 2019 Fant’s performance wasn’t limited to just one burst, either. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Broncos rookie tight end Noah Fant has breakout performance in victory over Browns," 3 Nov. 2019 Strasburg’s public face ranges from wooden to laconic to occasional bursts of engaged reticence, and so the Nationals’ provocateurs are determined to wring joy out of their 6-foot-5, 230-pound anchor. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "'Embrace it': Stephen Strasburg's legendary postseason hits its apex with gritty Game 2 win," 24 Oct. 2019 Joseph drew a large crowd at her first court appearance this month, emerging handcuffed from a police vehicle to a burst of jeers and catcalls, schoolchildren in matching uniforms struggling to catch a glimpse of her through the crowd. BostonGlobe.com, "That Joseph, 47, might have killed with such abandon has scandalized Koodathayai, a small town in the southern state of Kerala where she was an active member of the Roman Catholic community and seen as a model citizen.," 20 Oct. 2019 The international team of chemists, paleontologists and biogeochemical modelers behind the work tied these rapid fluctuations in oxygen to bursts of diversification and extinction during the Cambrian explosion. Quanta Magazine, "Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity," 27 Aug. 2019 Nevertheless, Mauricio Pochettino's men can feel hard done by after a dodgy lunge from Fabian Schar brought an abrupt end to Heung-min Son's burst into the area. SI.com, "Tottenham 0-1 Newcastle: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Joelinton Gets Off the Mark in England," 25 Aug. 2019 The eight repeaters seem to be located within a similar range of distances to the one-off bursts. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Astronomers Are Closer to Cracking the Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts," 15 Aug. 2019 Then, to a burst of pop music and cheesy wisecracks from the announcer, starters, timers and stroke-and-turn judges took their places, and the first row of swimmers took their marks. The Economist, "What the mighty Dolphins say about America," 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burst.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of burst


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for burst

Verb and Noun

Middle English bersten, from Old English berstan; akin to Old High German brestan to burst

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Time Traveler for burst

Time Traveler

The first known use of burst was before the 12th century

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Statistics for burst

Last Updated

12 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Burst.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burst. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for burst


How to pronounce burst (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of burst

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to break open or into pieces in a sudden and violent way
: to cause (something) to break open or into pieces
: to open suddenly



English Language Learners Definition of burst (Entry 2 of 2)

: a short period of producing or doing something that begins suddenly
: an act of breaking open or into pieces : the result of something breaking open or into pieces


\ ˈbərst How to pronounce burst (audio) \
burst; bursting

Kids Definition of burst

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to break open or in pieces (as by an explosion from within) bombs bursting in air buds bursting open
2 : to suddenly show emotion He burst into tears.
3 : to come or go suddenly He burst into the room.
4 : to be filled to the maximum The puppy is bursting with energy.



Kids Definition of burst (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sudden release or effort a burst of laughter a burst of energy

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More from Merriam-Webster on burst

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for burst

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with burst

Spanish Central: Translation of burst

Nglish: Translation of burst for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of burst for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about burst

Comments on burst

What made you want to look up burst? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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