Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bugger up v.

[bugger v.2 ; note Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin bagarap, used as an all-purpose negative, e.g. no good, broken]

1. to make a mess of, to blunder.

[UK]A.R.D. Fairburn letter in Edmond Letters (1981) Dec. 15: He is a ‘homey’ who came out to Australia, buggered up a grocery shop, and came to Norfolk.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Appointment in Samarra (1935) 77: Please promise me you won’t bugger things up.
[US]E. Hemingway letter 4 Apr. in Baker Sel. Letters (1981) 484: It would be a sin against the bloody holy ghost if I buggered up this book.
[SA]A. Fugard No-Good Friday (1993) 52: He walked in here and buggered up everything, buggered up life until I can’t recognize it any more.
[Aus]G. Casey Snowball 81: Some cow’ll notice there ain’t hardly any blackfellers in town. They’ll come out here, an’ bugger everything up, you see.
[Aus]A. Seymour One Day of the Year III i: [She] comes insultin’ me and buggerin’ up my son, who does she think she is, bringing her bloody upper-crust ways here.
[SA]A. Fugard Boesman and Lena Act II: Then he goes and buggers up everything by dying!
[UK]J. Rosenthal Spend, Spend, Spend Scene 97: Newspapers, of course, are newspapers. The more you bugger up your life, the more they like it.
[UK]M. Wilcox Accounts in Gay Plays (1984) 149/1: You fucking Mawsons are everywhere! Buggering up my colts! Screwing up my home!
[UK](con. 1920s) P. Barker Liza’s England (1996) 162: You really buggered me up, didn’t you, Frank?
Sun. Times (SA) 13 Mar. 8/4: Mouton was a violent and shockingly bad worker who had ‘buggered up’ the trucks.

2. to hurt, to injure, lit. or fig.

W. Churchill Beace-la-mar 37/1: bugger up one of the disfigurements coming from Austral English, to spoil.
[US](con. 1880–1924) F.J. Wilstach Anecdota erótica 24: It wasn’t the crum / That stuck in his bum; / But what b—d him up was the crust.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 206: You remember how poor old Monty Cass buggered hisself up so’s he couldn’t git no job nowheres. That’s what comes from bein’ too radical and a trouble-maker.
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 27 June 125: Zsa Zsa Gabor has no idea about comedy whatsoever. She may succeed in buggering us all up completely.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 14: I fell off the train and buggered my insides up.
[Aus] in K. Gilbert Living Black 18: The Woodeward thing is buggering the whole tribal system up to hell.
[SA]P. Slabolepszy Sat. Night at the Palace (1985) 72: I’ll bugger you up. ’Strue’s living God, I’ll bugger you up!
[UK]C. Dexter Daughters of Cain (1995) 333: You know what’s buggering us up the whole time, don’t you? It’s simply that we’re going to have one helluva job making a case against anybody.

In derivatives

buggered up (adj.)

1. of objects, broken, out of order.

[US]C. Abbey diary 6 Sept. in Gosnell Before the Mast (1989) 69: ‘Port fore brace quick’ said the ‘Skip’ & ‘box’ her off, but no she got all ‘buggered’ up main sail & all the courses full & topsails & all the rest aback.
[UK]S.H. Bell December Bride 260: Ireland was a Nation / When England was a pup / And Ireland will be Ireland / When England’s buggered up.

2. of people, physically beaten or hurt; exhausted.

[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 17: Seen ’em yet? Buggered up by a joy-ride in the train from Rouen to Méricourt.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 2 Apr. in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 160: I do surely feel buggered up, though.
[UK](con. 1930s) J. Wolveridge He Don’t Know ‘A’ from a Bull’s Foot 11: I’m all Buggered up like Barneys Bull.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 20 Nov. 37: He was as buggered-up emotionally as he was ever going to be.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 buggered up v. to tire.

3. of plans, ideas, schemes, ruined, aborted.

[NZ]D. Davin For the Rest of Our Lives 114: The LO says that the full-scale counter-attack they told us about got buggered up.
[UK]F. Pitt-Kethley Sky Ray Lolly 10: I went through Hardy at an early age / hoping to find one book at least where things / weren’t buggered up for all the characters.
[UK]Guardian G2 21 June 12: Some of the Regency terraces are buggered up with hideous double-glazing windows.