- to break, break open, or fly apart with sudden violence: The bitter cold caused the pipes to burst.
- to issue forth suddenly and forcibly, as from confinement or through an obstacle: Oil burst to the surface. He burst through the doorway.
- to give sudden expression to or as if to emotion: to burst into applause; to burst into tears.
- to be extremely full, as if ready to break open: The house was bursting with people.
- to appear suddenly; become visible, audible, evident, etc., all at once: The sun burst through the clouds.
- to cause to break or break open suddenly and violently: He burst the balloon.
- to cause or suffer the rupture of: to burst a blood vessel.
- to separate (the parts of a multipart stationery form consisting of interleaved paper and carbon paper).
- an act or instance of bursting.
- a sudden, intense display, as of activity, energy, or effort: The car passed us with a burst of speed.
- a sudden expression or manifestation, as of emotion: a burst of affection.
- a sudden and violent issuing forth: a burst of steam from the pipe.
- the explosion of a projectile, especially in a specified place: an air burst.
- a rapid sequence of shots fired by one pull on the trigger of an automatic weapon: A burst from the machine gun shattered all the windows.
- the result of bursting; breach; gap: a burst in the dike.
- a sudden appearance or opening to view.
- burst at the seams, to be filled to or beyond normal capacity: This room will be bursting at the seams when all the guests arrive.
Origin of burst
SynonymsSee more synonyms for burst on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for burst
The gunman then burst from the restaurant and fled down the street with the other man.Shot Down During the NYPD Slowdown
January 7, 2015
Within a few swipes, I was already feeling that burst of romantic optimism you need the first day of the (Christian) new year.My Week on Jewish Tinder
January 5, 2015
A burst of machine-gun fire blew off the wall of a nearby building—the commandos were approaching.‘Argo’ in the Congo: The Ghosts of the Stanleyville Hostage Crisis
November 23, 2014
And, as a result, an interesting and important text has burst out of the archives and into public consciousness.Jesus Christ, Baby Daddy?
November 12, 2014
And bonus points for the school bus that burst into flames with the comic timing of a Simpsons gag.The Walking Dead’s ‘Self Help’: A Grim Show Displays Its Comedy Streak, and A Major Reveal
November 10, 2014
"Now you are angry with me," exclaimed the sensitive maiden; and she burst into tears.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
Then, indeed, she had burst upon him with an impetuous despair that had alarmed him.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Although my heart was ready to burst, yet could I neither weep nor speak.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
Just think a moment: this my first burst from the dungeon-land of London for a whole year!
He dashed the glass from him, and burst into tears which he did not even try to conceal.
- to break or cause to break open or apart suddenly and noisily, esp from internal pressure; explode
- (intr) to come, go, etc, suddenly and forciblyhe burst into the room
- (intr) to be full to the point of breaking open
- (intr) to give vent (to) suddenly or loudlyto burst into song
- to cause or suffer the rupture ofto burst a blood vessel
- a sudden breaking open or apart; explosion
- a break; breach; rupture
- a sudden display or increase of effort or action; spurta burst of speed
- a sudden and violent emission, occurrence, or outbreaka burst of heavy rain; a burst of applause
- a volley of fire from a weapon or weapons
- broken apart; ruptureda burst pipe
Word Origin and History for burst
Old English berstan (intransitive) "break suddenly, shatter under pressure" (class III strong verb; past tense bærst, past participle borsten), from a West Germanic metathesis of Proto-Germanic *brestanan (cf. Old Saxon brestan, Old Frisian bersta, Middle Dutch berstan, Low German barsten, Dutch barsten, Old High German brestan, German bersten "to burst"), from PIE root *bhreus- "to burst, break, crack" (see bruise (v.)).
The forms reverted to brest- in Middle English from influence of Old Norse brestan/brast/brosten, from the same Germanic root, but it was re-metathesized late 16c. and emerged in the modern form, though brast was common as past tense through 17c. and survives in dialect.
Of extended or distended surfaces from 1530s. Figuratively, in reference to being over-full of excitement, anticipation, etc., from 1630s. Transitive sense ("to cause to break") is from late 13c. Meaning "to issue suddenly and abundantly" is from c.1300 (literal), mid-13c. (figurative). Meaning "break into sudden activity or expression" is from 1680s. Related: Bursting.
1610s, "act of bursting," from burst (v.). Meaning "a spurt" (of activity, etc.) is from 1862. The earlier noun berst (early Middle English) meant "damage, injury, harm."