Definition of burst in English:


Line breaks: burst
Pronunciation: /bəːst

verb (past and past participle burst)

[no object]
  • 1Break open or apart suddenly and violently, especially as a result of an impact or internal pressure: one of the balloons burst the dam burst after days of torrential rain
    More example sentences
    • It swells considerably and has to be pricked with a needle to release the internal pressure and avoid bursting.
    • Hoses that burst apart under pressure, or leaked copiously, were another problem faced by fire fighters.
    • The pain and agony she kept within her ruptured forth, much like an overflowing dam that finally burst under excruciating pressure.
    explode, blow up, detonate, go off, be set off, land
    informal go bang
  • 1.1 [with object] Cause to burst: he burst the balloon the swollen river was expected to burst its banks
    More example sentences
    • Frost expands the water in clay soils, which bursts the heavy clods apart.
    • The authority might be able to take some measures to cut the risk of properties being inundated when the beck bursts its banks, a leading councillor has revealed.
    • This is in sharp contrast to the rainy season, when the raging water yearly bursts its banks and floods thousands of houses near the river.
  • 1.2Be so full as almost to break open: the wardrobe was bursting with piles of clothes
    More example sentences
    • This time, the section was full to bursting with interesting stuff.
    • I think it's time we sorted out the kitchen cupboards, they're all full to bursting with even more stuff piled on top.
    • As his mouth was stuffed full to bursting with food, he was barely coherent.
  • 1.3Feel a very strong or irrepressible emotion or impulse: he was bursting with joy and excitement [with infinitive]: she was bursting to say something
    More example sentences
    • I'm bursting with much emotion here, so please bear with me if it sounds like I'm rambling like a mad man!
    • Splendidly pretty and bursting with emotion, this song is the work of a grown-up songwriter who still isn't afraid to cry.
    • His features were deadpan but his voice was bursting with emotion.
  • 2Issue suddenly and uncontrollably: the words burst from him in an angry rush
    More example sentences
    • He saw Ken's soft, caring eyes squeeze shut and watched as nervous tears uncontrollably burst from them.
    • I stood on the front step of the cottage, tears threatening to burst from my eyes as Sol and I said goodbye.
    • Tears burst from his own eyes and he ended up gripping his little son more for his benefit than the boy's.
  • 2.1Open suddenly and forcibly: a door burst open and a girl raced out
    More example sentences
    • Suddenly the door bursts open, a gust of wind blows snow into the room, and a man with a bushy beard and camel-skin tunic strides in.
    • Suddenly the front door burst open and Zax came running in.
    • Suddenly the doors burst open and Marguerite jumped with fear.
  • 2.2 [with adverbial of direction] Move suddenly and violently: he burst into the room without knocking figurative she burst on to the British art scene in 1985
    More example sentences
    • He didn't move when Tina burst into the room, her usual bubbly self.
    • As he burst forward, I moved to close him down but I only succeeded in getting a toe to the ball.
    • Beverly suddenly burst into the room, looking livid, as always.
    plunge, charge, barge, shove, plough, lurch, hurtle, career, rush, dash, tear
  • 4 [with object] Separate (continuous stationery) into single sheets.
    More example sentences
    • A folding forms tray is provided to hold forms to be burst.
    • It is desirable that bursting apparatus be capable of properly bursting all business forms used.
    • This burster will burst and trim over 1,000 11-in. (279mm) deep forms in less than 10 minutes, and is ideally suited to processing short runs.


Back to top  
  • 3A period of continuous and intense effort: he sailed 474 miles in one 24-hour burst
    More example sentences
    • A well-taught boxing circuit class, which involves intense bursts of skipping, abdominal exercises, sparring and bag work, is a fast way to shed excess pounds.
    • They tend to work in fairly intense bursts and argue that entitlements such as time and a half will add 2.5 to 3 percent to their wage bills.
    • They, and the man taking their pictures, are snatching moments between bursts of intense, backbreaking work.


burst someone's bubble

see bubble.
More example sentences
  • The other part of me was worried that Betty might not believe me, or even if she did, might resent me for being the one to burst her bubble and it could ruin the close relationship we now shared.
  • But when it comes right to your doorstep and bursts your bubble, well that's a different story.
  • Men may like to keep this myth going, but I'm bursting your bubble, boys.


Old English berstan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bersten, barsten.

More definitions of burst

Definition of burst in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kərf
a slit made by cutting with a saw