\ˈbərst \
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

blow, blow up, crump, detonate, explode, go off, pop

Synonyms: Noun

blast, blowup, bursting, detonation, eruption, explosion, outburst

Antonyms: Verb


Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of burst in a Sentence


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!”.


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

This is likely thanks to an increase in VMT in urban communities — cities are bursting at the seams, and as a result there are more people driving. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Fewer people died in car crashes in 2017, but the outlook is still grim," 3 Oct. 2018 As The Sun reports, the industrial-grade silicone gel can burst and expose the silicone to tissue in the body, which is what happened in Green's case. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Over 5,000 British Women Are Being Accused of Lying About Getting Defunct Breast Implants," 1 Oct. 2018 Getty Images / Maskot Is the podcast bubble bursting? Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Is the podcast bubble bursting?," 24 Sep. 2018 When the ministers were told the truth, some burst out laughing. The Economist, "Thanks to Boris Johnson, a farcical west-Balkan summit in London," 11 July 2018 Blue’d up Chicago Blues Fest always gets Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) bursting at the seams with people, but those who can handle the massive crowds are always rewarded with a good time. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do this weekend in Chicago," 7 June 2018 Elifritz had burst into the CityTeam Ministries shelter on Southeast Grand Avenue, armed with a knife on April 7. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Family of man fatally shot by police in Portland homeless shelter files federal lawsuit," 23 May 2018 The Noden-Reed Park and Museum burst with color during the annual Farm and Flower Fest, on May 12. Dennis Hohenberger, Courant Community, "Farm And Flower Fest Benefits Food Pantry," 22 May 2018 During the Blizzard of 1978, Randlett stayed overnight to shovel coal into the heaters to keep the pipes from bursting, for goodness sake. Sallee Ann Ruibal, Cincinnati.com, "3 headlines you may have missed: Traffic headaches, baseball brawl and a generous janitor," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Set in rural Northern Ireland in 1981, the nearly three-and-a-half-hour play bursts at the seams with characters and story lines marked by Butterworth’s hallmark humor, ambition, and a feel for how history and myth live on in the present. Adam Green, Vogue, "Jez Butterworth’s Irish Family Epic The Ferryman Comes to Broadway," 19 Oct. 2018 There was a good bit of scar tissue that had formed from the burst that also had to be removed. Jacqueline Andriakos, SELF, "What Appendicitis Really Feels Like, From 13 People Who Have Been There," 16 Oct. 2018 Unfortunately, the new bursts don't tell us much about how they're generated. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "We’ve seen more fast radio bursts, but we still don’t know what they are," 11 Oct. 2018 As a man who is so well suited to Cardiff as a city and a fanbase, Warnock was the burst of life that the club needed and has somehow dragged us into the Premier League again. SI.com, "From Hero to Villain to Hero Again: The Vincent Tan Journey," 8 July 2018 High-intensity interval training has become a big deal among workout enthusiasts, who like the short bursts of intense exercise alternated with longer periods of rest. Mike Candelaria, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Which workout is best for you: High or low intensity?," 5 July 2018 Booze after the bursts Never let someone who has been drinking handle fireworks. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "How to Stay Safe While Setting Off Fireworks This July 4th," 4 July 2018 State officials confirmed the bizarre incident, telling TV station WTNH the bear burst in through a back door of the Barkhamsted home June 28, walked past the mother and child, then proceeded to dig through the refrigerator, cabinets and pantry. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Bold bear chases family and their pets from home, then cleans out their refrigerator," 3 July 2018 The burst of civic activism sweeping across Florida means a lot fewer incumbents in Tallahassee will return to office without opposition. Steve Bousquet And David Smiley, miamiherald, "Democratic women ride wave of new candidates in Florida," 22 June 2018

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


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


see burst entry 1

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Statistics for burst

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for burst

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

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More Definitions for burst



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 \
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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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).


by force of circumstances

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