American English

Definition of burst verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they burst
    he / she / it bursts
    past simple burst
    -ing form bursting
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to break open or apart, especially because of pressure from inside; to make something break in this way That balloon will burst if you blow it up any more. The dam burst under the weight of water. My grocery bag burst and spilled food all over the floor. (figurative) He felt he would burst with anger and shame. a pipe that had burst burst something Don't burst that balloon! The river burst its banks and flooded nearby towns. Thesaurusexplodeblow up go off burst erupt detonateThese are all words that can be used when something bursts apart violently, causing damage or injury.explode to burst loudly and violently, causing damage; to make something burst in this way:The jet smashed into a hillside and exploded. The bomb was exploded under controlled conditions.blow (something) up (somewhat informal) to be destroyed by an explosion; to destroy something by an explosion:A police officer was killed when her car blew up.go off (of a bomb) to explode; (of a gun) to be fired:The bomb went off in a crowded street. When used about guns, the choice of go off (instead of “be fired”) can suggest that the gun was fired by accident.burst to break open or apart, especially because of pressure from inside; to make something break in this way:A water pipe burst and flooded the kitchen.erupt (of a volcano) to throw out burning rocks and smoke; (of burning rocks and smoke) to be thrown out of a volcano:Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980.detonate (somewhat formal) (of a bomb) to explode; to make a bomb explode:Two other bombs failed to detonate.Patterns a bomb explodes/blows up/goes off/bursts/detonates a car/plane/vehicle explodes/blows up a firework/rocket explodes/goes off
  2. 2[intransitive] + adv./prep. to go or move somewhere suddenly with great force; to come from somewhere suddenly He burst into the room without knocking. The sun burst through the clouds. The words burst from her in an angry rush.
  3. 3[intransitive] be bursting (with something) to be very full of something; to be very full and almost breaking open The roads are bursting with cars. to be bursting with ideas/enthusiasm/pride The hall was filled to bursting point. The hall was full to bursting.
  4. Idioms
    be bursting/bulging at the seams (informal)
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    to be very full, especially of people
    be bursting to do something
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    to want to do something so much that you can hardly stop yourself She was bursting to tell him the good news.
    the bubble bursts
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    there is a sudden end to a good or lucky situation When the bubble finally burst, hundreds of people lost their jobs. The optimistic bubble has now burst and economists agree the recession will continue.
    burst somebody's bubble
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    to bring an end to someone's hopes, happiness, etc. He seemed so happy—I couldn't burst his bubble so soon.
    burst open, burst (something) open
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    to open suddenly or violently; to make something open in this way The door burst open. Firefighters burst the door open and rescued them.
    Phrasal Verbsburst inburst in on somebody/somethingburst into somethingburst on/onto somethingburst out
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: burst