\ 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 Sometimes, these glacial lakes overflow or burst, surging down the mountainside with devastating force. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Deadly Himalayan Flood Shows Perils of Mountain Warming," 10 Feb. 2021 Several pipes at the Nenana water treatment facility froze and burst early Monday, forcing officials to scramble to make repairs so residents would not go without potable water. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Volunteer rush to help keep water flowing in Nenana after plant pipes burst in extreme cold," 9 Feb. 2021 After an opening drive finished in a long field goal, the Chiefs watched Brady lead the Bucs 74 yards in less than 4 minutes for a touchdown, this time on a 27 yard burst by running back Leonard Fournette. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Tom Brady just gets better with age with seventh Super Bowl victory," 8 Feb. 2021 The crazy finish was sparked by a seven-point burst by Quinerly. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Jahvon Quinerly a silver lining for Alabama in loss to Missouri," 6 Feb. 2021 The hot water tank froze and burst, flooding the inside of her RV. Nerd Wallet, cleveland, "10 tips for winter RV road trips," 20 Dec. 2020 Length enables above-average long speed but burst far from elite. Khobi Price, sun-sentinel.com, "Former Penn State, Chaminade-Madonna WR John Dunmore announces he’s transferring to FAU," 17 Dec. 2020 His speed and burst to outrun pursuit angles on the perimeter are impressive. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 things we learned from Cowboys-Bengals, including why RB-by-committee is the way for Dallas to go," 14 Dec. 2020 Senior Republicans are still figuring out exactly where those are after four years of defending Mr. Trump, who burst past boundaries all the time. New York Times, "An Emboldened Extremist Wing Flexes Its Power in a Leaderless G.O.P.," 1 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then there was a burst of orange, and the officers remembered temporarily losing their hearing from the concussion of the blast. New York Times, "A Quiet Life, a Thunderous Death, and a Nightmare That Shook Nashville," 27 Dec. 2020 Howard had 10 rebounds, Furkan Korkmaz scored 11 points and first-round pick Tyrese Maxey was a burst of energy early and had six points. Dan Gelston, baltimoresun.com, "Wizards drop season opener to 76ers despite triple double from Westbrook," 24 Dec. 2020 Sure, there was one little burst of relief, but in many ways it wasn’t fairly distributed. Jeff Slate, WSJ, "Jeff Tweedy on Covid-19—and its Impact on Live Music," 15 Dec. 2020 There may be a burst of heavier rain Wednesday afternoon, and another late Wednesday night, as weak waves of low pressure develop along the front and move through. Washington Post, "Heavy rain and isolated flooding forecast for Washington region Wednesday into Thursday," 10 Nov. 2020 The arrival of Nate Silver in 2008, alongside other rigorous statisticians critiquing the media’s use of polls, was a refreshing burst of empiricism. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Polling is driving us mad, but the alternative would be much worse," 2 Nov. 2020 The cause—discovered by an engineering team from Openreach—is a burst of electrical activity called SHINE: single high-level impulse noise. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "How an Older TV Screwed Up an Entire Village’s Internet," 2 Oct. 2020 Then there was a burst of tremendously good news — the surrender of Germany. Deborah Martin, ExpressNews.com, "1918 to 2020: Witte and Army medical museum artifacts from Spanish flu pandemic show much is the same amid coronavirus," 24 Sep. 2020 The color experts at Pantone seem to share that optimism because their color trend predictions for next spring are a burst of cheerful kaleidoscopic color. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Pantone Predicts the Bold, Happy Colors You'll See Everywhere in Spring 2021," 17 Sep. 2020

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

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Burst.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burst. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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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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Comments on burst

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