\ 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, 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

John Tangkitcharoenthawon, a local village chairman, was bursting with happiness over the successful rescue. Kaweewit Kaewjinda And Stephen Wright, Houston Chronicle, "'Everyone is safe' after daring rescue of 13 in Thai cave," 11 July 2018 John Tangkitcharoenthawon, a local village chairman who was working as a volunteer translator for the tourist police, was bursting with happiness at the successful rescue. Anchorage Daily News, "After daring rescue, entire Thai soccer team is out of cave," 10 July 2018 Most of the district's elementaries are currently above 85 percent capacity, but the four to the west of North Meridian Street are bursting at the seams. Emma Kate Fittes, Indianapolis Star, "How Carmel parents are fighting to keep Orchard Park Elementary open in Home Place," 21 June 2018 The Treasure Valley is bursting at the seams with a huge influx of new residents, many looking for more reliable water for growing crops. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "With drought always a threat, we all need to learn our water lessons," 16 June 2018 Even top Republicans are bursting President Trump’s bubble on his claims that his campaign was spied upon by the Obama administration. latimes.com, "Today: ‘Spygate’ Sputters," 30 May 2018 Soon enough, father and daughter are bursting into laughter. refinery29.com, "13 Reasons Why," 27 May 2018 This Lodi wine was bursting with incense, raspberry, smoke, herbs, baking spices, jammy dark berries, anise and black pepper. Michael Austin, chicagotribune.com, "15 zinfandels to drink with whatever meat you're grilling," 23 May 2018 The finale was bursting with excitement and emotion for contestants and judges alike, prompting Carrie Ann to leave the judges’ table at one point to run onto the floor and hug contestant Tanya Harding! Sophie Dodd, PEOPLE.com, "Carrie Ann Inaba Goes All Out for Season Finale of DWTS," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

High intensity interval workouts, also known as HIIT, raise your heart rate with short bursts of intense movements. Anna Kaiser, Time, "Try This Fun HIIT Workout to Get Fit and Increase Your Endurance," 19 June 2018 Their fans responded to the team’s vigor with bursts of their own, forming a regenerating cycle of energy. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "A Fearless Mexico Tops Germany, With Help From Its Cerebral Coach," 18 June 2018 Officials said Friday morning that lower levels of sulfur dioxide gas and minor amounts of ash are being transported downwind, with small bursts of ash and gas accompanying intermittent explosive activity, KMGB reports. CBS News, "Kilauea volcano eruption: Seismic activity increases, earthquakes strike 5 days in a row," 15 June 2018 But most of all, perhaps, the rapid-cutting structure provides us with regular bursts of relief, steady distractions from the horrors of long-term deprivation — a relief that Oldham Ashcraft and Sharp, of course, were cruelly denied. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Shailene Woodley's performance powers the evasive shipwreck-survival drama 'Adrift'," 31 May 2018 Wilson ignited the Caps’ Game 7 victory in the Eastern Conference Final with several bursts of bodily contact. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Stanley Cup Final Preview: Top Storylines to Watch for in the Final," 25 May 2018 This celestial event is also known to deliver bright and impressively fast streaks across the night sky, with surprise bursts of extra activity on rare occasions. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "How to See the 2018 Lyrid Meteor Shower," 20 Apr. 2018 Just inside large black & white images (some with slight bursts of color) decorate the walls, while downstairs shelves covered in photography books line the room. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "Yerevan’s Mirzoyan Library Combines Cutting Edge Photography with Hypnotic Beats," 30 Mar. 2018 His violence comes with sudden bursts of fierce energy, even including smashing a plate over the teenage Bart’s head. James Ward, azcentral, "Faith-based drama 'I Can Only Imagine' doesn't just preach to the choir," 15 Mar. 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

5 Sep 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

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to make amends

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