\ 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

Ostriches can sprint up to 43 miles per hour in short bursts, or maintain 31 mph speeds for longer periods of time. National Geographic, "The Biggest Bird That Ever Lived and 5 More Bird Superstars," 15 May 2018 While the Vikings flowed with continuity, the Eagles could only find success in bursts and never maintained momentum. Kyle Mcfadden, Howard County Times, "Mt. Hebron girls lacrosse advances to region final with win over rival Centennial," 15 May 2018 The Columbia Daily Spectator also reported that in 2015 a burst pipe and leaking water tank caused $250,000 in damage. WSJ, "At Columbia University, Art Students Want Their Tuition Back," 7 May 2018 At 36, Wade showed in the playoffs that the go-to scoring now only is available in limited bursts. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Heat's next step could come down to Dion Waiters' surgically repaired ankle," 2 May 2018 Timmins says shows will come in relatively short bursts but still take the band to plenty of places to show off the new material. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Cowboy Junkies Return With 'All That Reckoning,' Title Track From New Album: Premiere," 1 May 2018 Water leaks, burst pipes, and frozen pipes can be among the more detrimental incidents to deal with, but this smart detector (our favorite) can alert you immediately if there's an issue. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "Here are the 5 best Amazon deals you can get right now," 22 Apr. 2018 Parker then didn't get much action in Game 1, playing 14 ½ minutes in bursts of about four minutes. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Perilously close to elimination, the Bucks search for more effort and less drama," 19 Apr. 2018 These changes occur at about the same rate over time—as opposed to in bursts—and only about 1% are deadly, the researchers report today in Science. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Mutating DNA caught on film," 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

What made you want to look up burst? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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