\ 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

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

Synonyms: Noun

flare, flare-up, flash, flicker, flurry, flutter, outbreak, outburst, spurt

Antonyms: Verb


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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

The black was an outlier, though; most of Hu’s dresses are bursting with color. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Caroline Hu Is Our First Discovery of NYFW—And Her Dresses Belong at the Oscars," 10 Feb. 2019 Both are bursting with sights to see, things to eat, and local craft beer to drink. Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips from Houston," 12 Oct. 2018 More in Logistics As shoppers increasingly go online to make purchases of all kinds, from groceries to apparel to furniture, logistics networks are bursting at the seams. Erica E. Phillips, WSJ, "Warehouse Space Growing Tighter on Rising E-Commerce Demands," 11 Oct. 2018 Nevertheless, the Twitterverse was bursting with questions on the ensemble. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Melania Trump sports pricey Gucci coat to welcome Polish president," 19 Sep. 2018 Let your joy burst forth, like flowers in the spring. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "35 Spring Instagram Captions for All of Your Sunny Photos," 26 Mar. 2019 Roofs can get damaged, pipes can burst, windows can crack, toilets can explode, and yes, even doors can freeze. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About Buying Exterior Doors," 19 Feb. 2019 The 32-bit addressing scheme is one of the most tangible examples of how the internet is bursting at the seams. Popular Mechanics, "The Death of the Internet," 7 Feb. 2019 Rapidly rotating Wolf-Rayet stars are thought to give rise to long gamma ray bursts, in part because the heat of the core and their rapid rotation leave them on the cusp of bursting apart. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Scientists spot two massive stars creating a pinwheel of dust," 20 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Strickland and her colleague Gérard Mourou were awarded half the $1 million prize for their discovery of a novel way to amplify the power of laser beams in short bursts. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The 2018 Nobel Prize reminds us women are still too often invisible in science.," 2 Oct. 2018 This indicates that integration of new features seems to take place much sooner—as the features are developed, rather than all in one big burst of merging at the end. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft’s problem isn’t how often it updates Windows—it’s how it develops it," 20 Oct. 2018 And Reed uses the film’s action sequences to play with size even further, growing and shrinking cars, characters, buildings, and, in one marvelous burst of visual whimsy, a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is a Marvel marvel," 4 July 2018 Each trigger pull results in a 5-second burst of electricity. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Police Tasers: How do they work? What are the risks?," 23 May 2018 Good) also played a clutch role for the Jammerheads in the second half with one burst of positivity after another en route to critical points that kept the pendulum swinging in her team's favor. Rick Menning, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Gold Coast Derby Grrls double their dynamics in super skatefest," 23 Apr. 2018 Yes, in one shocking burst of wild canine malevolence, a coyote or coyotes upended the idyll of suburbia, biting a mail carrier, nipping at a cyclist’s rear tire, terrorizing civilians, and even killing a dog. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "The Average Driver Is More Deadly Than a Rabid Coyote," 21 Mar. 2018 All nine of Barry's points in the 11-2 burst were on 3-pointers. Blake Baumgartner, Naperville Sun, "Jack Barry comes up very good on 3-pointers as Naperville North wins regional," 3 Mar. 2018 In one burst, the hackers made off with $2 million in the span of less than four weeks, the Talos researchers said. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Hackers Stole $50 Million in Cryptocurrency Using 'Poison' Google Ads," 14 Feb. 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

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for burst

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with burst

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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