burst

1 of 2

verb

burst also bursted; bursting

intransitive verb

1
: to break open, apart, or into pieces usually from impact or from pressure from within
the balloon burst
the pipes burst
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
2
a
: 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

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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)
Phrases
burst at the seams
: to be larger, fuller, or more crowded than could reasonably have been anticipated

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
What was once an unwelcoming, rundown space is now bursting with books, mugs, memorabilia, and photos of the team over the years. Sara Netzley, EW.com, 20 Feb. 2024 And those stocks, once bursting with leftover Cold War-vintage vehicles, are finite. David Axe, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 And, today, his studio bursts with in-progress still lifes, drawings of conceptual maps and a new portrait series inspired by colonial-era casta paintings. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 An awkward step or twist can cause that brief, oh-my-god-I’ve-done-it-now burst of pain, sometimes followed by a sensation of your knee giving way. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 14 Feb. 2024 Crocuses, hyacinths, and snowdrops are the first to burst from the thawing ground. Katelyn Chef, Southern Living, 9 Feb. 2024 Since bursting onto the global stage, the England international has been an active supporter of food banks which are trying to uplift impoverished communities in the city. Zayn Nabbi, CNN, 6 Feb. 2024 But the right side of her lower jaw, where the bullet had burst through her face, was almost powder. Eric Adler, Kansas City Star, 4 Feb. 2024 History would suggest that that sound is not a bubble bursting. Rory Smith, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2024
Noun
Van Ginkel makes up for a slender frame and shorter arms with good burst off the line and plus movement ability in space, but he can get swallowed up by blockers. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 21 Feb. 2024 Incorporating moderate-intensity exercises in small but consistent bursts can be highly effective and boast meaningful health benefits in the long run. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 20 Feb. 2024 The substantial progress seen so far may be due to a recent burst of productivity growth. Bryan Mena, CNN, 17 Feb. 2024 Fast forward to spring 2024, and many designers maintained this commitment to simplicity, but soft, calming hues were punctuated by vibrant bursts of exuberant, opulent color. Alex Kessler, Vogue, 17 Feb. 2024 The Terps replied with an 11-5 burst that drew them within 18-15 midway through the first half. Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2024 The shampoo is effective at cleansing the scalp and strands without stripping them of natural oils, and the conditioner is an excellent follow-up product for that extra burst of hydration. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 In Search of a Win-Win 7th Street is the sort of success story that exemplifies the nascent burst in productivity that the U.S. economy has experienced over the past year or so, after a plunge in 2021 and 2022. Talmon Joseph Smith, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2024 Instead of carving out 30 to 60 minutes several times a week, plan several short bursts of movement throughout the day. Danielle Friedman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'burst.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

Noun

derivative of burst entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near burst

Cite this Entry

“Burst.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burst. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

burst

1 of 2 verb
burst; bursting
1
a
: to break open or in pieces (as by an explosion from within)
the balloon burst
buds bursting open
b
: to cause to burst
2
a
: to suddenly show one's feelings
burst into tears
b
: to begin to do something suddenly
burst into song
3
: to come or go suddenly
burst into the room
4
: to be filled to the breaking point
just bursting with energy

burst

2 of 2 noun
1
: a sudden release or effort
a burst of speed
2
: a firing of many shots at the same time

More from Merriam-Webster on burst

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