Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1700-1800
Origin: burst

bust

1 verb
     
bust1 past tense and past participle bust British English also busted especially American English [transitive]
1

break

informal to break something:
I bust my watch this morning.
Tony busted the door down.
2

police

a) if the police bust someone, they charge them with a crime:
He was busted by U.S. inspectors at the border.
b) informal if the police bust a place, they go into it to look for something illegal:
Federal agents busted several money-exchange businesses.
3

try hard

bust a gut

informal also bust your butt/ass American English spoken to try extremely hard to do something:
I bust a gut trying to finish that work on time.
4

money

American English informal to use too much money, so that a business etc must stop operating:
The trip to Spain will probably bust our budget.
5

crime-busting/union-busting/budget-busting etc

informal used with nouns to show that a situation is being ended or an activity is being stopped:
crime-busting laws
6

... or bust!

informal used to say that you will try very hard to go somewhere or do something:
Idaho or bust!
7

military

PM especially American English to give someone a lower military rank as a punishment [= demote]

bust out

phrasal verb
to escape from a place, especially prison

bust up

phrasal verb
1 British English if people bust up, they end their relationship or friendship [= break up]:
They bust up after six years of marriage.
bust-up (1)
2

bust something ↔ up

to prevent an illegal activity or bad situation from continuing [= break up]:
A couple of teachers stepped in to bust up the fight.
3

bust something ↔ up

American English to damage or break something:
A bunch of bikers busted up the bar.
4 American English to start laughing a lot [= crack up]:
Elaine busted up laughing at the sight of him.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary