burst

verb
\ 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

burst

noun

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

implode

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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

Newcomer farmers tried to control the flooding, but the river simply burst through their canals. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Hoover Dam Changed America—And It Might Do It Again," 27 July 2018 Prisons in Iraq have been bursting at the seams following the detention of thousands of Islamic militants during nearly three years of war against the Islamic State group. Fox News, "Fire started by rioting inmates in Iraqi jail kills 7," 26 May 2018 Then last week, the erupting volcano sent 2,200-degree lava bursting through cracks into people's backyards in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, and as Kilauea's magma shifted underground, a magnitude-6.9 earthquake rocked the Big Island. CBS News, "Hawaii officials hope Kilauea volcano eruption won't deter travelers," 12 May 2018 Whether the repairs were inadequate or additional pipes burst on Saturday is unclear. Liz Clarke, The Seattle Times, "At the center of Kentucky Derby controversy, War of Will is vindicated with victory in Preakness Stakes," 18 May 2019 The pumps had held the water at bay until the last moments, when one of the industrial-sized hoses burst, pouring water back into the cave. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "‘Time is running out’: Inside the treacherous rescue of boys trapped in a Thai cave," 13 July 2018 Mermithids live inside the mosquito larvae and burst out when moving to their next life cycle, in turn killing the mosquito. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County breeds carnivorous plants, mosquito assassins to limit mosquito population," 7 July 2018 The Sephora's Sun Safety Kit, which launches on April 23, is bursting with 12 skin-care minis from a wide array of beloved brands like Dr. Jart+, Shiseido, Murad, and Drunk Elephant. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, "Sephora’s New Sun Safety Kit Is Filled With Your Summer SPF Essentials," 23 Apr. 2019 This rare stand-alone version is bursting with flavors of black cherry, ripe plum, blackberry syrup and whispers of complex spices. Andy Perdue, The Seattle Times, "DeLille Cellars’ 2015 Harrison Hill is Andy Perdue’s Wine of the Year," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

When the aircraft is ready for launch, the steam is suddenly released and, in a burst of power, accelerates the shuttle—and attached aircraft—down the flight deck to takeoff speeds. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Trump Tells U.S. Navy to Go Back to Steam Catapults," 30 May 2019 At the very same moment, in a burst of Boylean magical realism, the world has a collective brain freeze, erasing all traces of the Fab Four. Robert Sullivan, Vogue, "Meet Himesh Patel, Breakout Star of Yesterday," 17 May 2019 Iguodala, who hit three early treys in a surprising burst of shooting, hit another with two minutes left. Al Saracevic, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors win, but still missing Curry and consistency," 16 Apr. 2018 Light bursts through the main area of the home through windows and an overhead oculus light. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Quirky Looking Denver Dome House Has an Insane Indoor Pool," 10 May 2019 The mission began in 2010, with a brief initial burst of data collection, before starting continuous operations in 2013. Alexandra Witze, Scientific American, "Asteroid Battle: Tech Entrepreneur Doubles Down on Critique of NASA Mission," 18 June 2018 In California, a burst of vegetation from rains could serve as fuel in the dry summer months and heighten the wildfire danger in some areas, forecasters say. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "As Hurricane, Fire Seasons Approach, More People Likely to Be in Harm’s Way," 9 May 2019 In another possible example of AI weapons release, the turret immediately swivels in the direction of the missile fire and fires a burst. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "This Crazy Ad for an Israeli Future Tank Is Something Else," 12 Mar. 2019 Two aquamarine sofas anchor the living space and provide a rich burst of color in the otherwise subdued loft. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Rent this cozy loft that doubles as a furniture showroom," 27 Dec. 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

Verb

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

Noun

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

13 Jun 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

burst

verb

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

burst

noun

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

burst

verb
\ 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.

burst

noun

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

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