\ 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 After all, who in world history has ever read Hegel and burst into tears? James Wood, The New Yorker, "The Scholar Starting Brawls with the Enlightenment," 25 May 2020 Initial news reports said the plane had skidded off the rooftops of several houses in the neighborhood, called Model Colony, before bursting into flame. Salman Masood, New York Times, "Plane Crashes in Pakistan With at Least 99 Aboard," 22 May 2020 The 19-year-old’s vehicle crashed into the front left passenger side of the other car, causing it to spin clockwise and burst into flames. Dallas News, "Child, 3 adults taken to hospital after major crash in Pleasant Grove," 19 May 2020 But cops burst into the room and seize the film — Ace is dead, so the lawyer who was against Meg's release can do that — and the final shot of the episode shows the film reels burning in an incinerator. Jean Bentley, refinery29.com, "Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood Limited Series Binge Club: Episodes 1-7," 4 May 2020 The cadet dropped his sword, burst into tears and invited John to have some cake and a cup of tea, the one and only time when the slave laborer was treated as a guest. David Pryce-jones, National Review, "John Stewart: Photographer and Prisoner of War," 29 Apr. 2020 Zoom was ready and burst into the public consciousness as a result. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google Meet, Google’s Zoom competitor, is now free for everyone," 29 Apr. 2020 Students will film themselves in their roles at home, reciting comedic monologues and occasionally bursting into song. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "Facing a canceled end-of-year performance, an Anchorage high school theater production goes virtual," 19 Apr. 2020 Gilreath fielded Drew Basil's kick at the 3-yard line, moved through a seam on the left side and burst into the clear at the 35. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: David Gilreath returns it to the house as Badgers topple No. 1 Ohio State," 4 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The film bursts with memorable lines and sequences, frequently landing on lists of iconic cinema. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "All the continuity errors in Casablanca we never noticed before — and why it's still essential viewing," 22 May 2020 Lake turns into a giant beach after the dam burstsOne moment on Tuesday: Wixom Lake was flooding. Frank Witsil, USA TODAY, "Mid-Michigan flooding crests at 35 feet, Whitmer requests FEMA help: What we know," 21 May 2020 And David Einhorn, who came out on top when the dot-com bubble burst. Max Abelson, Bloomberg.com, "Wall Street Gets Blindsided by the Coronavirus Meltdown," 10 May 2020 The new coronavirus keeps replicating itself inside the cell until the cell can no longer contain all the viruses, and the cell bursts open. AZCentral.com, "New coronavirus seems to have distinctive pattern of damage in lungs," 17 Apr. 2020 Doctors report seeing fewer children affected by COVID-19, even in places like Washington, which experienced the first burst of cases in the country. Alice Park, Time, "Why Children Seem to Be Less Affected By the Coronavirus," 6 Apr. 2020 Officials at East Alabama Medical Center said church attendance has been linked to the early burst of cases of cases in the county. Amy Yurkanin | Ayurkanin@al.com, al, "Coronavirus shrunk his Alabama congregation to 10. Then six got sick.," 5 Apr. 2020 The steel-crunching burst sent the top of the spacecraft flying, and a cloud of vapor billowed into the sky and drifted toward the water. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "Why SpaceX Wants a Tiny Texas Neighborhood So Badly," 31 Mar. 2020 There have been some relatively benign bear markets (1990) and some real bruisers (the dot-com bubble burst of the early aughts). Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Tighter coronavirus lockdown concerns rattle the global markets," 30 Mar. 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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Burst.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burst. Accessed 31 May. 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

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