Date: 1700-1800
Origin: burst


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


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


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.

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.


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.

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

... or bust!

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


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)

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.

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.

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