noun, often attributive
sun·​burst | \ ˈsən-ˌbərst How to pronounce sunburst (audio) \

Definition of sunburst

1 : a flash of sunlight especially through a break in clouds
2a : a jeweled brooch representing a sun surrounded by rays
b : a design in the form of rays diverging from a central point

Examples of sunburst in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Key Art Deco Characteristics Motifs: Flattened and stylized geometric motifs like fans and flowers; abstract patterns like chevron and sunbursts; jagged lines(a precursor to the Brutalist styles on the horizon). Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The Fascinating History of Art Deco Design," 16 Mar. 2020 Overnight, the circular table had turned into a sunburst arena. Matthew Schafer, Scientific American, "In Search of the Brain’s Social Road Maps," 1 Feb. 2020 The final print resembles little sunbursts, appearing on ethereal dresses as well as simple base layers. Vogue, "Information Designer Giorgia Lupi Debuts a Collaboration With & Other Stories That Celebrates Women in Science," 6 Nov. 2019 People would create photo collages on third-party apps, slap a heavy sunburst filter on it and post it in three clicks. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Remember Vine? These social networking sites defined the past decade," 20 Dec. 2019 The star of that group was William Van Alen, architect of the Chrysler Building, who wore a crown of sunbursts like those on his Art Deco skyscraper as well as a Buck Rogers-style cloak and boots. Blair Kamin,, "Column: Architects come to a party dressed as their skyscrapers and paint a picture of today’s high-rise scene," 31 Oct. 2019 Those goldtop pickups were later installed into the sunburst Gibson. Matt Wake |, al, "Duane Allman guitar with Alabama roots sells for $1.25 million," 12 Aug. 2019 The anolini—large, flat sunbursts—are stuffed with beef, pork, and salumi, and covered in a glossy Parmigiano cream. Jessica Henderson, The New Yorker, "Rezdôra Brings Northern Italy to New York City," 9 Aug. 2019 Each of the family members sits in front of a sunburst made of knives as they are interrogated. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Watch: the first trailer for Rian Johnson’s Knives Out tips its hat to Agatha Christie," 2 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sunburst.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sunburst

circa 1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sunburst

Time Traveler for sunburst

Time Traveler

The first known use of sunburst was circa 1815

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sunburst

Cite this Entry

“Sunburst.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on sunburst

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sunburst

Comments on sunburst

What made you want to look up sunburst? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!