bust a gut
bust a gut
1. slang To put forth a great deal of effort. I've been busting a gut trying to get a passing grade this semester, so failing by two measly points is incredibly frustrating. Don't bust a gut trying to please these people—they'll never appreciate it.
2. slang To start laughing suddenly or uncontrollably. To convey this meaning, the phrase can also be expanded to "bust a gut laughing." The kids busted a gut when the clown fell down on stage. I nearly bust a gut laughing at that comedy show—I could barely breathe!
3. To react furiously and/or violently to something or someone, to the point of losing control of one's behavior. Mom totally busted a gut when I told her I had failed math. Don't bust a gut, it's just a tiny scratch on the car.
bust a gut (to do something)
Fig. to work very hard; to strain oneself to accomplish something. (The word gut is considered impolite in some circumstances. Bust is a non-standard form of burst.) I don't intend to bust a gut to get there on time. I busted a gut to get there the last time, and I was the first one there.
bust a gut
Also, burst a gut.
1. Exert one-self to the utmost. For example, He was busting a gut trying to please her. This hyperbolic term alludes to hurting one's mid-section through physical straining. The first slangy term dates from the early 1900s, the variant from about 1700. For a synonym, see break one's ass.
2. Explode with strong feeling, especially laughter or anger. For example, Gene almost bust a gut laughing, or The foreman will burst a gut when he learns that the machine isn't repaired. The former dates from the late 1800s, the latter from about 1940.
bust a gutINFORMAL
If you bust a gut doing something, you work very hard at it. I was busting a gut doing horrible jobs — toilet cleaning among other things — to support us. Do your best to get it finished but don't bust a gut.
bust a gutmake a strenuous effort. informal .
2001 David Moody Autumn I don't want to bust a gut building something up if we're just going to end up prisoners here.
bust a ˈgut(informal)
1 make a very great effort: I’m not going to bust a gut trying to be on time when I know she’ll probably be late.
2 (American English) laugh a lot: That show is hilarious, I bust a gut every time I watch it.