Difference Wiki

Burst vs. Flare: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Updated on November 13, 2023
Burst refers to the sudden breaking or rupturing of something, while flare means to burn or shine with a sudden intensity or to widen gradually.

Key Differences

Burst implies a sudden, often forceful breaking or explosion of something, like a balloon bursting. Flare, in contrast, refers to a sudden increase in light or fire, or a sudden, brief intensification of something.
The term burst is often associated with physical objects breaking apart rapidly. Flare is used to describe a sudden brightening, like a flare-up of flames, or an increase in intensity, like emotions flaring.
Burst can indicate a sudden release of energy or emotion. Flare, on the other hand, often refers to a gradual widening or spreading out, as well as a temporary intensification of symptoms, like pain.
In terms of emotions, a burst might refer to a sudden outburst, like anger. In contrast, flare could describe a sudden escalation or intensification of those emotions.
Burst is also used metaphorically to describe a sudden appearance or occurrence, while flare is used in fashion to describe the shape of garments that widen from a narrow point.

Comparison Chart


Sudden breaking or rupturing
Sudden increase in light/intensity or gradual widening


Associated with objects or emotions
Describes light, fire, emotions, or garment style


Often implies destruction or release
Suggests intensification or expansion


Physical breaking or emotional outburst
Brightening, widening, or intensifying


Balloon bursting
Flare of a flame or flare in pants

Burst and Flare Definitions


To break open suddenly.
The pipe burst due to the pressure.


To burn or shine with a sudden intensity.
The campfire flared up suddenly.


A sudden release of energy or emotion.
He burst into laughter.


A sudden escalation of intensity.
His anger flared at the provocation.


To erupt or explode.
The fireworks burst in the sky.


To widen gradually.
The skirt had a gentle flare at the bottom.


A sudden onset or occurrence.
A burst of inspiration hit her.


A temporary intensification of symptoms.
She experienced a flare of pain.


Rapidly and suddenly appearing.
Flowers burst into bloom in spring.


To spread outwards.
The dress flared elegantly as she danced.


To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.


To flame up with a bright, wavering light.


To explode.


To burst into intense, sudden flame.


To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open
The sacks were bursting with grain.


To erupt or intensify suddenly
Tempers flared at the meeting. His allergies flared up.


Can burst be used for emotions?

Yes, like bursting into tears or laughter.

Does burst imply destruction?

Often, as in a balloon bursting or a pipe breaking.

What does burst mean?

Burst refers to something breaking open or apart suddenly.

What is a burst of energy?

It’s a sudden, intense release of energy.

What is a flare?

Flare can mean a sudden increase in light or intensity or a gradual widening.

Is flare used in fashion?

Yes, for garments that widen gradually, like flare jeans.

Can flare mean expanding?

Yes, especially in the context of shapes or designs.

Is burst always sudden?

Typically, it implies a rapid occurrence.

Can flare describe a fire?

Yes, as in a fire flaring up.

What does it mean for pain to flare?

It means a sudden increase in pain intensity.

What's a burst of inspiration?

It's a sudden onset of creative ideas.

Can flare be a verb?

Yes, as in "the nostrils flared."

Can burst be a noun?

Yes, as in a burst of gunfire.

Does burst always mean physical breaking?

No, it can also refer to sudden appearances or occurrences.

Does flare always involve light?

Not always; it can also refer to emotions or physical sensations.

Is burst used in cooking?

Rarely, but it can describe certain reactions, like kernels bursting into popcorn.

Does flare have a positive connotation?

It can, depending on the context, like a flare in fashion.

Can burst refer to sounds?

Yes, like a burst of applause.

Is flare used in medical terms?

Yes, to describe a temporary worsening of symptoms.

Is flare used for temporary situations?

Yes, like a flare-up of symptoms.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons