bust 2 (bŭst)
v. bust·ed, bust·ing, busts
a. To smash or break, especially forcefully: “Mr. Luger worked it with a rake, busting up the big clods, making a flat brown table” (Garrison Keillor).
b. To render inoperable or unusable: busted the vending machine by putting in foreign coins.
2. To cause to come to an end; break up: an attempt to bust the union.
3. To break or tame (a horse).
4. To cause to become bankrupt or short of money: “Unwatched overhead could bust us in a year's time” (Louis Auchincloss).
a. To place under arrest.
b. To make a police raid on.
6. Slang To reduce in rank; demote.
7. Slang To hit; punch.
a. To undergo breakage; become broken.
b. To burst; break: “Several companies have threatened to bust out of their high-wage contracts by the dubious technique of declaring bankruptcy” (Washington Post).
2. To become bankrupt or short of money.
3. Games To lose at blackjack by exceeding a score of 21.
1. A failure; a flop: “The home-style bean curd is a bust, oily and rubbery” (Mark and Gail Barnett).
2. A time or period of widespread financial depression: “Bankers consider the region's diversified economy to be good protection against a possible real estate bust” (American Banker).
3. Slang A punch; a blow.
4. Informal A spree: a fraternity beer bust.
a. An arrest.
b. A raid.
bust a nutVulgar Slang
To have an orgasm.
bust (one's) ass(or butt)Vulgar Slang
To make a strenuous effort; work very hard.
bust (one's) ballsVulgar Slang
1. To make a strenuous effort; work very hard.
2. To make extreme or unreasonable demands of someone.
3. To harass or scold someone.
bust (someone's) chopsSlang
1. To make extreme or unreasonable demands of someone.
2. To harass or scold someone.
To go bankrupt.
[Variant of BURST.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.