verb (used without object), burst or, often, burst·ed, burst·ing.

verb (used with object), burst or, often, burst·ed, burst·ing.



    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

before 1000; Middle English bersten, bursten, Old English berstan (past. plural burston), cognate with Old High German brestan (German bersten), Old Norse bresta; akin to break
Related formsnon·burst·ing, adjective, nounun·burst, adjective
Can be confusedbust burst (see usage note at bust2)

Synonyms for burst

1. crack, explode. 6. rend, tear. 10. spurt. 11, 12. outbreak.

Usage note

See bust2.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bursted

Historical Examples of bursted

British Dictionary definitions for bursted


verb bursts, bursting or burst

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
Derived Formsburster, noun

Word Origin for burst

Old English berstan; related to Old Norse bresta, Old Frisian bersta, Old High German brestan; compare break
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bursted



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper