\ 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 MADISON - State officials have reprimanded three prison nurses for failing to provide adequate care to a 14-year-old boy who was given crackers and soda for days when his appendix was at risk of bursting. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Three Lincoln Hills nurses reprimanded for giving inadequate care to 14-year-old inmate," 9 Jan. 2020 Sciorra, who first shared her story with The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow, has accused Weinstein of bursting into her Manhattan apartment and raping her in the early 1990s. NBC News, "Harvey Weinstein is going on trial in New York. Here's what to know.," 6 Jan. 2020 Federal prosecutors on Monday filed hate crimes charges against the man accused of bursting into a Hasidic rabbi’s home and stabbing five Jewish people at a Hanukkah celebration. BostonGlobe.com, "Suspect in stabbings did searches for ‘Hitler,’ charges say - The Boston Globe," 31 Dec. 2019 The pressure can either lead the vessels to burst, causing a hemorrhagic stroke, or to crack, which creates clotting that can lead to ischemic strokes. Oliver Staley, Quartz Africa, "Zambia has 17 million people, a stroke epidemic, and no neurologists," 30 Dec. 2019 While end-of-year celebrations tend to burst forth on Dec. 31, music fans know the days leading up New Year’s Eve are just as fruitful. John Wenzel, The Know, "The best New Year’s Eve 2019 live music to see in Denver and beyond," 19 Dec. 2019 The actor has steadily been putting in work since bursting onto the scene as Cadillac in the Netflix series The Get Down. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "12 Facts You Didn't Know About Sexy 'Watchmen' Star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II," 16 Dec. 2019 Alabama outgained the assembly-line LSU offense 172-93 in the third quarter when the bulk of two touchdown drives had the home crowd ready to burst. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Alabama rose from the dead and had LSU in trouble. Why this game differed from last 8," 10 Nov. 2019 After bursting onto the scene with a First Team All-America year as a sophomore, Chase regressed as a junior, going 14-of-21 on field goal attempts and making 66 of his 71 extra point tries. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "All in the family: Chase Vinatieri wants to continue the legacy his uncle built in the NFL," 20 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His comments come amid increasing uncertainty about the future of any nuclear talks between the two states, after an initial burst of rapprochement which saw Kim Jong Un meet with both Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "North Korea says US 'deceived' Pyongyang on nuclear talks after Trump sends Kim birthday card," 11 Jan. 2020 And the Terps immediately threatened after a 43-yard burst by McFarland. Jack Ebling, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland can’t hold fourth-quarter lead, bows to Michigan State, 19-16, in football," 30 Nov. 2019 Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each burst until it’s completely melted. BostonGlobe.com, "SUGAR COOKIES WITH ROYAL ICING," 21 Nov. 2019 Alan Greenspan stopped at 1% after the dot-com bubble burst, while Ben Bernanke cut down to 0.25%, so if investors still held a serious belief in a coming recession, there would be far more intense pressure to cut rates further. John Authers | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "The Fed and Markets Enter Into an Uneasy Peace," 4 Nov. 2019 After the ensuing kickoff, Liberty kept handing it off to Darrion Bartley, who earlier in the second half lost a fumble inside the 10-yard line after a 48-yard burst on the same possession. Vytas Mazeika, The Mercury News, "Football: Liberty runs out the clock on Cardinal Newman," 21 Sep. 2019 Daniels, a sophomore, added an insurance goal with 30 minutes to play after a burst through the middle of the Falcons’ back row. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Boys Soccer: Gerstell trying to exhibit ‘workhorse mentality’," 12 Sep. 2019 After Smith’s initial offensive burst, Roberts noticed pitchers began attacking him differently, using more breaking balls and staying down and away more often. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Will Smith fits as the ‘Fresh Prince’ in Dodger Stadium despite recent struggles," 9 Sep. 2019 Residents grew concerned after a semi-truck burst into flames after hitting two fire hydrants, a utility pole and a parked car on Main Street earlier this month. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Barrio Logan residents say enforcement of city-designated truck route is low," 3 Sep. 2019

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Burst.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bursting. Accessed 25 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on burst

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for burst

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


dull or mediocre

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