from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.
  • intransitive v. To explode.
  • intransitive v. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open: The sacks were bursting with grain.
  • intransitive v. To emerge, come forth, or arrive suddenly: burst out of the door.
  • intransitive v. To come apart or seem to come apart because of overwhelming emotion: thought his heart would burst with happiness.
  • intransitive v. To give sudden utterance or expression: burst out laughing; burst into tears.
  • transitive v. To cause to burst: burst the balloon. See Synonyms at break.
  • transitive v. To exert strong pressure in order to force (something) open.
  • transitive v. To separate (a continuous form or printout) into individual sheets.
  • n. A sudden outbreak or outburst; an explosion.
  • n. The result of bursting, especially the explosion of a projectile or bomb on impact or in the air.
  • n. The number of bullets fired from an automatic weapon by one pull of the trigger.
  • n. A volley of bullets fired from an automatic weapon: The machine gunner fired a quick burst.
  • n. An abrupt, intense increase; a rush: a burst of speed; fitful bursts of wind.
  • n. A period of intense activity: "I write in very short bursts—10 or 15 minutes” ( Zoe Heller).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An instance of, or the act of bursting.
  • v. To break from internal pressure.
  • v. To cause to break from internal pressure.
  • v. To separate formfeed at perforation lines
  • v. To enter or exit hurriedly and unexpectedly..

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sudden breaking forth; a violent rending; an explosion.
  • n. Any brief, violent exertion or effort; a spurt.
  • n. A sudden opening, as of landscape; a stretch; an expanse.
  • n. A rupture or hernia; a breach.
  • intransitive v. To fly apart or in pieces; of break open; to yield to force or pressure, especially to a sudden and violent exertion of force, or to pressure from within; to explode.
  • intransitive v. To exert force or pressure by which something is made suddenly to give way; to break through obstacles or limitations; hence, to appear suddenly and unexpectedly or unaccountably, or to depart in such manner; -- usually with some qualifying adverb or preposition, as forth, out, away, into, upon, through, etc.
  • transitive v. To break or rend by violence, as by an overcharge or by strain or pressure, esp. from within; to force open suddenly.
  • transitive v. To break.
  • transitive v. To produce as an effect of bursting.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fly or break open as an effect of internal forces and with sudden violence; suffer a violent disruption; explode.
  • Hence—2. Figuratively, to break or give way from violent pain or emotion: as, my head will burst; her heart burst with grief.
  • To come or go suddenly; rush: as, the enemy in an instant burst upon us.
  • To rend by force or violence (that which confines or retains); open suddenly and violently; cause to explode: as, to burst one's bonds; to burst a cannon.
  • To break, in general.
  • Synonyms (intransitive verb and t.) To split, separate, rend, tear.
  • In pin-pool billiards, to go beyond a score of 31; in ball-pool, to smash at the pyramid.
  • n. A sudden disruption; a violent rending.
  • n. A sudden explosion or shooting forth; a rush; an out-burst: as, a burst of applause; a burst of passion; “burst of thunder,”
  • n. A rupture; a hernia.
  • n. 4. A smart race; a spurt.
  • n. A sudden opening to sight or view.
  • n. A spree.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be in a state of movement or action
  • v. burst outward, usually with noise
  • v. force out or release suddenly and often violently something pent up
  • n. the act of exploding or bursting
  • v. come open suddenly and violently, as if from internal pressure
  • v. emerge suddenly
  • v. cause to burst
  • v. break open or apart suddenly and forcefully
  • n. a sudden flurry of activity (often for no obvious reason)
  • v. move suddenly, energetically, or violently
  • n. a sudden intense happening
  • n. rapid simultaneous discharge of firearms


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English bursten, from Old English berstan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English bersten, from Old English berstan, from Proto-Germanic *brestanan (compare West Frisian boarste, Dutch barsten, Swedish brista), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰre-s-t- (compare Irish bris ‘to break’), enlargement of *bʰreHi- ‘to snip, split’. More at brine.



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