bust something up
1. To come apart in pieces. The house is so old that the plaster on this wall has busted up—there are bits of it all over the floor.
2. To end a partnership of some kind, often a romantic relationship. I'm so sad to hear that Mara and John busted up—I thought those two would be together forever. The Beatles busting up is considered a pivotal moment in rock history.
3. To induce the end of a partnership of some kind, often a romantic relationship. I heard that constant dishonesty busted up their marriage. Police finally managed to bust up the crime ring that had been plaguing the city for decades.
4. To physically attack someone, as with punches and other blows, such that they suffer significant injury. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "bust" and "up." The captain of the football team swore he would bust me up if I ever talked to his girlfriend again. I can't believe that skinny kid busted up the school bully!
5. To smash something to pieces. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "bust" and "up." Go get the axe and bust up this dresser. It's not worth anything, so we might as well use it for firewood.
6. To damage or wreck some place. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "bust" and "up." The mob boss's goons came by and threatened to bust my place up if I didn't start paying them. My girlfriend went absolutely nuts and started busting up the joint when she found out I'd been cheating.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
bust something up
tv. to ruin a marriage by coming between the married people. He busted their marriage up by starting rumors about Maggie.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.