be busted

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be busted

1. To be bankrupt or without money. I wagered all I owned on that investment, and now I am completely busted.
2. In the military, to be demoted in rank. The four lieutenants were caught with drugs and alcohol, and all were subsequently busted to the rank of cadet.
3. To be arrested by the police. I told you we'd be busted if we tried to sell alcohol without a license!
4. To be caught in the act of wrongdoing, bad behavior, or lying. I was busted by my parents when I tried sneaking into the house after curfew last night. I saw what you did, you are so busted!
5. To be broken, physically damaged, or in a state of disrepair. Ah, no one can get this car to run, it's completely busted.
See also: busted

be busted

1. Also, go bust. Become bankrupt, financially ruined. For example, Who knew that the brokerage firm would be busted? [Slang; early 1800s] Also see under go broke.
2. Also, get busted. Be demoted, as in If you're caught gambling you'll get busted to private. This usage originated in the military and still most often denotes a reduction in rank. [c. 1800]
3. Also, get busted. Be arrested or turned over to the police, as in The gang members were sure they'd get busted. [Mid-1900s]
See also: busted