verb (used without object), burst or, often, burst·ed, burst·ing.
- 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.
verb (used with object), burst or, often, burst·ed, burst·ing.
- 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.
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
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 (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 berst (early Middle English) meant “damage, injury, harm.”(v.). Meaning “a spurt” (of activity, etc.) is from 1862. The earlier noun