Which of the following phrases is correct grammatically?

  • burst in laughter
  • burst into laughter

Or are they both correct (this is my guess)?

I'd think that to "burst in laughter" could translate to something like "burst in a state of laughter." Is this correct?

  • 10
    The fixed phrase is burst into laughter. In is not used. May 25, 2012 at 3:52
  • 2
  • 1
    Although one might hear bursting out in laughter
    – J.R.
    May 25, 2012 at 9:14
  • @J.R.: That's exactly it, and can't "out" be remove from that sentence while maintaining proper grammar?
    – Purag
    May 25, 2012 at 23:20
  • If the joke is funny enough, I might burst out in laughter, or I might burst into laughter, but I won't burst in laughter. The word "in" is just not used that way.
    – J.R.
    May 26, 2012 at 5:35

4 Answers 4


I've never heard or read "burst in laughter" in 65+ years of reading and speaking, so "I'd have to say that "burst into laughter" is the correct idiom. "Burst in a state of laughter" doesn't mean the same thing as "burst into laughter". The latter phrase means that someone suddenly started laughing rather loudly (bombs burst and make big noises), while "Burst in a state of laughter" means that someone or something (a robot?) broke (burst or exploded like a balloon) while laughing. Idioms often cannot be understood simply by looking at the words they contain.

  • 2
    "He burst in laughter" ... meaning: He laughed so hard that he burst. Hopefully just some buttons came loose, and not a more serious form of bursting...
    – GEdgar
    May 25, 2012 at 16:16

To express sudden utterance or expression usual collocation is burst into

He burst into tears.

In some situations in might be possible to imply sudden movement or action. Compare:

He burst in without knocking.
he burst into the room.

I think "to burst out laughing" is more widely used.

  • 1
    Welcome to English Language & Usage @Nels_on. We're looking for answers with more detail. Can you substantiate your answer in some way? Otherwise, it's just your opinion, which is of no more value to Purag than my opinion :-)
    – user63230
    Jan 15, 2015 at 23:38

A common expression is "to burst out laughing". But there are variants, of course.

  • While that is true, I don't see how this answers the question. Jan 20, 2015 at 9:52

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