\ 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 One of the officers who burst into Taylor's apartment and began firing wildly was indicted Wednesday on three counts of wanton endangerment — but not for killing Taylor. Dahleen Glanton, Star Tribune, "Justice in Breonna Taylor's death fell victim to 'law and order' politics," 24 Sep. 2020 Taylor was shot multiple times by officers who burst into her home on March 13 during a narcotics investigation. Arkansas Online, "Grand jury indicts 1 police officer in Breonna Taylor death," 23 Sep. 2020 Taylor was shot multiple times by officers who burst into her home on March 13 during a narcotics investigation. The Associated Press, NOLA.com, "Grand jury indicts 1 police officer in Breonna Taylor death," 23 Sep. 2020 The dormancy lasted until just after the Civil War, when gold miners burst into the Arizona Territory. Longreads, "The Ancient Waterways of Phoenix, Arizona," 10 Aug. 2020 Lorraine Elewaut’s firefighter brother called from Washington on Monday, when the Silverado fire burst into Irvine near the Elewauts’ Skyridge home. Los Angeles Times, "Orange County fires burn more than 27,000 acres, as some Irvine evacuation orders are lifted," 27 Oct. 2020 Arozarena about-faced and dived toward home, pounding on the plate with a big smile while Phillips burst into tears in the outfield. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "World Series 2020 live stream (10/25): How to watch Dodgers-Rays Game 5 online, TV, time," 25 Oct. 2020 That belief led to real-world fallout in 2016 when Edgar Welch burst into the D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong with an assault-style rifle in hopes of rescuing children who were never there in the first place. Washington Post, "He’s a former QAnon believer. He doesn’t want to tell his story, but thinks it might help.," 24 Oct. 2020 Morneau was forced out in August when friction between his office and Trudeau’s burst into public view. Kait Bolongaro, Bloomberg.com, "Trudeau Is Preparing to Test Limits of Debt-Financed Spending," 17 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Loosened rules on restaurants and bars and a burst of social activity in the waning weeks of spring and the first weeks of summer resulted in California’s deadliest season of the pandemic, sabotaging efforts to reopen schools in time for fall. Rong-gong Lin Ii Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Why the third wave of coronavirus could be the most difficult for California," 18 Nov. 2020 The Cougars struck with a 28-yard field goal from Luke Hadley with 4:01 left in the third, then took the lead early in the fourth on senior fullback Ryan Joy’s three-yard burst for the decisive score. Robert Fenbers, cleveland, "Joe Malchesky, Lake Catholic defense rise to the occasion, top Bloom-Carroll 17-10 to reach D-IV football state title game," 15 Nov. 2020 Then came a rushing burst a week ago, and that’s put the Big 12′s top defense at West Virginia (4-3, 3-3 Big 12) on alert as the Horned Frogs (3-3, 3-3) try to reach an elusive winning record Saturday. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "TCU-West Virginia live stream (11/14): How to watch college football online, TV, time," 14 Nov. 2020 Northern Illinois trailed 29-10 in the third quarter, but finished with a 20-0 burst to eke out a 30-29 decision. Rick Armstrong, chicagotribune.com, "Oswego East graduate Antwain Walker finalizes transfer from NIU, finds new home at Temple: ‘It was time for a fresh start.’," 10 Nov. 2020 In Fulton County, Georgia, election officials briefly paused counting after a pipe burst, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Democrat-led states did not stop counting votes to avoid Trump victory," 5 Nov. 2020 The goal with Tabata, explains Yang, is to go all out during each 20-second burst. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "A 10-Minute HIIT Workout for When Everything Feels Overwhelming," 31 Oct. 2020 Jordon Simmons’ 28-yard burst, thanks to a combo block seal from Nick Samac and Matt Carrick, moved MSU into Michigan territory on its second drive after going three-and-out on the opening possession. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Record performance carries Michigan State football to major upset of No. 14 Michigan, 27-24," 31 Oct. 2020 Wichita State, fresh from a close loss at Oregon State the night before, succumbed to a late burst by Oregon and lost 92-72. Bud Withers, oregonlive, "Remembering the Kamikaze Kids: ‘Mad Hoops’ book excerpt," 24 Oct. 2020

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

5 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Burst.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burst. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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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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