Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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
bust (one's) butt
1. (acting upon oneself) To exert a significant amount of energy or work very hard to do, accomplish, or complete something. I've been busting my butt all night long to get this presentation ready for tomorrow's meeting. She's going to have to bust her butt if she wants a place on the varsity team.
2. (acting upon someone else) To harass, nag, or upbraid someone to do, accomplish, or complete something. The boss is busting everyone's butt to get the project ready by next week. Quit busting my butt! I'll get it done eventually!
1. Literally, a hand in poker consisting of four cards of the same suit and one that is different, i.e., one card short of a flush. I thought I'd finally win the hand, but when I drew the ace of spades, I was left with a busted flush.
2. A person, organization, or thing that at one time held great potential or influence but that ultimately ended up a failure. Jack left secondary school with great grades and a bright future, but he became addicted to drugs and turned out a busted flush. The company promised big returns to investors but turned out to be a busted flush.
bust (one's/someone's) cherry
1. vulgar slang (of someone else) To have sexual intercourse with a virgin, especially a female. Before you go busting a girl's cherry, you had better make damn sure that you and she are both totally ready to sleep with each other.
2. vulgar slang (of oneself) To have sexual intercourse for the first time. There is nothing wrong with waiting until you're absolutely ready before you bust your cherry. Too many people try to pressure you into it from too young an age.
3. vulgar slang (of oneself) To do something for the first time, especially that which is particularly daunting, difficult, dangerous, or illegal. Somebody pass Marcus the joint, he still needs to bust his cherry tonight! For her birthday, I bought my friend Samantha a voucher so she could bust her cherry sky diving.
bust (one's) ass
rude slang To work very hard. I've been busting my ass studying for this exam, so I really hope I get a good grade. We can't blow off Holly's party—she's been busting her ass cooking and cleaning and getting everything ready for company.
bust a bronco
To tame a wild horse for riding. (A "bronco" is a untrained horse or pony.) I've never busted a bronco before, and this mean old horse doesn't look too eager to let me try.
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 move
1. slang To depart. We really to need to bust a move and get back on the road before sundown, guys.
2. slang To dance. (This usage was popularized by the song "Bust a Move" by Young MC). Did you see grandpa busting a move out there? He moves pretty darn well for being 91!
bust ass out of (some place)
rude slang To leave a place hastily. We busted ass out of the party when we heard sirens approaching.
To arrest one for an illegal act. The police busted us for underage drinking.
1. slang To escape from a place or thing (often prison). That criminal did bust out, but he was caught only a mile from the prison.
2. slang To help one to escape from a place or thing (often prison). In this usage, a noun or pronoun is typically used between "bust" and "out." We can't just leave him here to rot in a jail cell—we have to bust him out! Don't worry, I'll pull the fire alarm and bust you out of detention.
3. To bring out something for use. Bust out the champagne—we've got an engagement to celebrate!
4. To suddenly perform a particular action. My mother seemed fine this morning but then busted out crying at the funeral. The kids busted out laughing when the clown fell down on stage.
5. To pop out of something, often clothes that are too small. I'm sorry, but that top just doesn't fit you—you're practically busting out of it!
bust out laughing
To start laughing suddenly or uncontrollably. The kids busted out laughing when the clown fell down on stage.
bust (some) suds
1. slang To drink beer. Let's go to the bar and bust some suds.
2. slang To wash dishes. Before I became a chef, I worked in the kitchen of a local restaurant busting suds.
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.
4. To deliver a violent physical attack. In this usage, a person's name or pronoun is often, but not always, 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!
bust (someone or something) wide open
To deliver a violent physical attack. In this usage, a person's name or pronoun is often, but not always, used between "bust" and "up." The captain of the football team swore he would bust me wide open if I ever talked to his girlfriend again. I can't believe that skinny kid busted the school bully wide open!
vulgar slang To pass gass; to fart. Who just busted ass? It stinks in here.
bust a bronco
to ride and thus tame a wild horse so that it can be ridden. (Bust is a nonstandard form of burst.) In them days, I made my living busting broncos. That was the meanest bronco I ever seen. Nobody could bust 'im.
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 move
Sl. to leave (a place.) Let's go. Time to bust a move. Let's bust a move. Lots to do tomorrow.
bust out laughing
Fig. to start laughing suddenly. Bust is a nonstandard form of burst. I busted out laughing when I saw him in that get-up. The bridegroom was so nervous, it was all he could do not to bust out laughing.
bust out (of some place)
Sl. to break out of some place, especially a prison. (Bust is a nonstandard form of burst meaning 'break' here.) Somehow the gangsters busted out of prison and left the country. They busted out together.
bust someone up
1. Sl to cause lovers to separate; to break up a pair of lovers, including married persons. (See also bust something up.) Bust is a nonstandard form of burst meaning 'break (apart)' here. Mary busted Terri and John up. Mary busted up Terri and John.
2. Sl to beat someone up; to batter someone. (Bust is a nonstandard form of burst meaning 'hit' here.) You want me to bust you up? Max busted up Lefty pretty badly.
bust something up
1. Inf. to break or ruin something; to break something into smaller pieces. (Bust is a nonstandard form of burst meaning 'break' here.) Who busted this plate up? Don't bust up the plates! Be careful!
2. Sl to ruin a marriage by coming between the married people. (See also bust someone up. Bust is a nonstandard form of burst meaning 'break' here.) He busted their marriage up by starting rumors about Maggie. He busted up their marriage.
1. Sl [for lovers] to separate or break up. (Bust is a nonstandard form of burst meaning 'break' here.) Tom and Alice busted up for good. They busted up last week.
2. Sl [for something] to break up due to natural causes. (Bust is a nonstandard form of burst meaning 'break (apart)' here.) The rocket busted up in midair. I saw it bust up.
flat brokeand flat busted
Fig. having no money at all. Sorry, I'm flat broke. Not a cent on me. You may be flat broke, but you will find a way to pay your electricity bill or you will live in the dark. Mary was flat busted, and it was two more weeks before she was due to get paid.
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
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.
Also, stone or stony broke . Completely penniless. For example, I can't help you-I'm flat broke, or He's stone broke again. The first term dates from the mid-1800s and uses flat in the sense of "completely" or "downright." The variant dates from the late 1800s.
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 gutverb
bust a move
tv. to leave (a place). Let’s bust a move. Lots to do tomorrow.
in. [for lovers] to separate or break up. Tom and Alice busted up for good.
1. and bust mod. arrested. Harry the Horse is bust again. The third time this month. How many times you been busted for speeding?
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated. I went to a beer bust and got busted.
mod. having no money at all. Sorry, I’m flat broke. Not a cent on me.