Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

burst - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     burst pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlebursting
past tenseburst
past participleburst
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive]Sound effect if something filled with air or water bursts, or if you burst it, it breaks suddenly because there is too much pressure inside it or against it

    Did a tyre burst?

    She spitefully burst the little boy’s balloon.

    1. a.
      [transitive] if a river bursts its banks, water rises above its sides and spreads over the surrounding area
  2. 2
    [intransitive] to go somewhere quickly and suddenly
    burst into/through/out:

    A man burst into the room waving a gun.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] to become noticeable or successful quickly and suddenly
      burst into/onto/upon:

      He burst onto the racing scene in 1998.

quiz invitation


a description of an economic or political situation based on analysis of information at the present time

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an unregulated form of capitalism that features financial deregulation, privatisation and low tax for high earners

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play