burst at the seams


verb (used without object), burst or, often bursted, bursting.
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 bursted, bursting.
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.

before 1000; Middle English bersten, bursten, Old English berstan (past. plural burston), cognate with Old High German brestan (German bersten), Old Norse bresta; akin to break

nonbursting, adjective, noun
unburst, adjective

break, bust, burst (see synonym study at break)(see usage note at bust).

1. crack, explode. 6. rend, tear. 10. spurt. 11, 12. outbreak.

See bust2.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To burst at the seams
World English Dictionary
burst (bɜːst)
vb , bursts, bursting, burst
1.  to break or cause to break open or apart suddenly and noisily, esp from internal pressure; explode
2.  (intr) to come, go, etc, suddenly and forcibly: he burst into the room
3.  (intr) to be full to the point of breaking open
4.  (intr) to give vent (to) suddenly or loudly: to burst into song
5.  to cause or suffer the rupture of: to burst a blood vessel
6.  a sudden breaking open or apart; explosion
7.  a break; breach; rupture
8.  a sudden display or increase of effort or action; spurt: a burst of speed
9.  a sudden and violent emission, occurrence, or outbreak: a burst of heavy rain; a burst of applause
10.  a volley of fire from a weapon or weapons
11.  broken apart; ruptured: a burst pipe
[Old English berstan; related to Old Norse bresta, Old Frisian bersta, Old High German brestan; compare break]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. berstan "break suddenly" (class III strong verb; past tense bærst, pp. borsten), from a W.Gmc. metathesis of P.Gmc. *brestanan (cf. O.Fris. bersta, M.Du. berstan, Low Ger. barsten), from PIE base *bhres- "to burst, break, crack." The forms reverted to brest- in M.E. from influence of O.N.
brestan/brast/brosten from the same Gmc. root, but it was re-metathesized late 16c. and emerged in the modern form, though brast was common as p.t. through 17c. and survives in dialect.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

burst at the seams

Be filled to or beyond normal capacity. For example, On her wedding day the church was bursting at the seams, or That was a wonderful meal, but I'm bursting at the seams. This expression alludes to rupturing the seams of a garment too tight for the wearer and is generally used hyperbolically. Also see come apart at the seams.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature