\ 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 German auditor of a Brazilian dam that burst in January has informed the dam’s owner, Vale SA, that an external review panel has raised questions about its assessment of eight other dams in Brazil, according to a person familiar with the matter. Alistair Macdonald, WSJ, "After Deadly Brazil Dam Burst, Inspector Raises Questions About Other Audits," 15 Mar. 2019 Jeffrey's a master at crafting rooms that burst with color and personality. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "You Can Now Get Designers' Most Iconic Looks in Your Own Home," 14 Mar. 2019 Non-bullous impetigo can cause symptoms like itchy sores that burst and leave behind red, raw skin, along with a yellow crust, the AAD says. Korin Miller, SELF, "5 Belly Button Infections You Can Get (and What to Do If You Have One)," 23 Feb. 2019 Scholes was part of a batch of young talent that burst into United’s first team during the early 1990s. Rob Harris, The Seattle Times, "Scholes the latest of United’s Class of 92 to enter coaching," 11 Feb. 2019 In January 2018, Roger Stone appeared on a podcast for Infowars, the far-right website, and burst into a monologue on an unlikely topic: the NFL’s billion-dollar concussion settlement with former players. Andrew Beaton And Shelby Holliday, WSJ, "How Roger Stone Entangled Himself in the NFL’s Concussion Settlement," 8 Feb. 2019 Let what needs to fall away from your love life simply slough off its old leaves or burst into bloom without agitation or analysis. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes September 2018," 1 Sep. 2018 Donelda Pulex stepped off the airplane into the sun, clutching her 5-year-old daughter's hand and burst into heaving sobs. Colleen Long, The Christian Science Monitor, "Families reunited, then deported to Guatemala," 12 July 2018 The assailants surprised their victims, regular people going about their daily business, bursting into their lives and shooting them in the head at close range. Erik Kirschbaum, latimes.com, "German Neo-Nazi found guilty of murder in execution-style slayings of migrants," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Vivid, Supercharged Colors Last season, we were blinded by bursts of neon thanks in part to Prada’s highlighter-pink and orange Fall 2018 collection. Emily Farra, Vogue, "6 Street Style Trends From the Fall 2019 Menswear Shows," 31 Jan. 2019 Despite a drag on growth from residential real estate, the first three quarters of this year were marked by strong economic expansion driven by a burst of fiscal stimulus from federal tax cuts and spending increases. Harriet Torry, WSJ, "U.S. Household Net Worth Rose by $2.07 Trillion in 3rd Quarter," 6 Dec. 2018 The engine and exhaust has been tuned like a symphony orchestra—a sonorous roar punctuated by occasional percussive bursts. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "1,160 miles in 11 days: A grand tour with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio," 15 Aug. 2018 In some cases, just the sound and sight produced by the burst of orange spray will scare off a bear, Wilder said. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Got bear spray? Here’s how to make sure you use it right.," 5 May 2018 By avoiding the hyper-stimulation caused by bursts of color, Reese encourages his audience to linger. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "Lewis museum photo exhibit 'Reflections' looks into lives of prominent black Americans," 17 Mar. 2018 Diplomacy between the United States and North Korea has gone through cycles of long stagnation, followed by brief bursts of hope and then disappointment, typically after North Korea reneged on any agreement. Mark Landler And David E. Sanger, New York Times, "On North Korea, Trump Finds Himself in Same Position as His Predecessors," 6 Mar. 2018 All manner of pugs, poodles, chihuahuas, cocker spaniels, Dachshunds and Great Danes as well as plenty of mixed breeds were engaged in ebb-and-flow chaos-languid periods followed by bursts of all-in friskiness. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "This man has one of the biggest jobs in television on Super Bowl Sunday. He runs the Puppy Bowl.," 4 Feb. 2018 Joe Sensebe, the utility's interim manager, said Thursday that pressure levels in the city's water system began falling Wednesday around 3:30 p.m., under strain from leaks caused by burst frozen pipes and heavy customer faucet use. Beau Evans, NOLA.com, "New Orleans' water pressure is recovering, but 'occasional fluctuations' possible: S&WB," 21 Jan. 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

21 Mar 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 boil down or concentrate

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