verb (used without object), burst or, often, burst·ed, burst·ing.
verb (used with object), burst or, often, burst·ed, burst·ing.
- 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.
Origin of burst
Synonyms for burst
verb bursts, bursting or burst
Word Origin 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."
burst at the seams
Be filled to or beyond normal capacity. For example, On her wedding day the church was bursting at the seams, or That was a wonderful meal, but I'm bursting at the seams. This expression alludes to rupturing the seams of a garment too tight for the wearer and is generally used hyperbolically. Also see come apart at the seams.