Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ball-breaking adj.

also ball-busting
[ball-breaker n./ball-buster n. in all senses]
(orig. US)

1. acting as a hard taskmaster or dominating woman.

[US]J.A. Weingarten Amer. Dict. Sl. (1954) 15/2: ball-busting (adj.) difficult.
Kerouac Doctor Sax 39: Jey-sas Crise gawd damn ballbreaking sonofabitch.
[US]J.D. Horan Blue Messiah 184: So [...] there isn’t a real ball-busting cops’ union? One that would go all out for the guys on the beat?
[US]T. Whitmore Memphis-Nam-Sweden 118: That same ball-breaking hillbilly private.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 218: I waited expectantly for the air to turn blue with women’s lib ball-breaking invective.
J. & C. Kimbrell Barbra 419: Behavior which is acclaimed in a man as dynamic, thorough and deliberate is belittled in a woman as that of a ballbreaking shrew.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 2 July 15: A revenge killing of a boyfriend’s ball-busting boss.
J. Neugeboren Don’t Worry About the Kids 59: My father went crazy, screaming that my mother was a cockteasing ballbusting slut.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 484: Fucken ball-breaking is about right, lar. Breaking rocks while Massa McCluskey cracks the whip.
[UK]Guardian G2 29 Mar. 15: The only interesting thing about my job is when I get to bear witness to the ball-breaking insensitivity of surgeons.
A. Roche Cambridge Companion to Brian Friel 24: He is hellbent on giving maximum offense, butchering even the most sacred cow of the Irish mammy through the hideous, ballbreaking figure of Ryan’s mother.
I. Haus Blue Justice 10: Her new sergeant was well aware of the nickname whispered around the GIB offices. Kay also guessed that the ballbusting feminist probably liked it.

2. physically demanding, exhausting.

S. Krim (ed.) Beats 76: [He] acted more like a Hollywood caricature of a ‘genius’ than a person with the ballbreaking desire to uphold the immortal flame of art .
[US](con. Vietnam War) A. Santoli Everything We Had (1982) 93: That was the most terrible fucking humping I ever did in my life. That really was a ball-breaking hump.

3. very irritating.

[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 12: Fuck it. And all the rest of this ball-breaking bullshit.
[US]D. DeLillo Running Dog (1992) 243: They start in with their complications, with their ball-breaking little remarks.

4. aggressive, cruel.

T. Coyne Paper Tiger 140: They share the same ballbusting sense of humor.