Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ball-buster n.

[balls n. (1) + SE buster; but note Yid. baleboosteh, a bossy woman, lit. ‘mistress of the house’]

1. (US Und.) a thief who grabs his victim by the testicles while his accomplice takes his wallet.

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

2. (orig. US, also balls buster) a nagging woman.

[US]S. Longstreet Straw Boss (1979) 278: All dames are balls busters.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 18: Ballbuster – a woman who deprives a man of his virility.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 97: This hoor is an A1 baw-buster.
[US]G. Tate Midnight Lightning 55: Feminist author and activist Germaine Greer, reviled as a cliché pro-femme ballbuster in her time.

3. (US campus) a notably hard course or examination.

[US]J.A. Weingarten Amer. Dict. Sl. 15/1: Ball-buster [...] a task that is difficult or annoying.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 266: I wrote my own questions . . . Ball busters, too.

4. any overbearingly unpleasant person or circumstances.

[US]J.A. Weingarten Amer. Dict. Sl. 15/1: Ball-buster [...] A person who repeatedly annoys one or assigns difficult tasks.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 66: stevenson! that bawlbustuh!
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 164: Chubby Galasso was a big fat ball-buster who didn’t want to know.
[US](con. 1969) C.R. Anderson Grunts 94: That could have been an enjoyable little hump but it turns out to be another ball-buster.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 115: Stanley and Tommy got so carried away with the ball buster that they killed the guy.
[US](con. c.1967) J. Ferrandino Firefight 16: It’s a real ballbuster. If you think you’re tired now, wait until we get ready to set up.
[US]B. Hamper Rivethead (1992) 131: The setup was a thorough ball-buster, an eight-hour mule train of uphill grind.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] [T]he cop-hating CCRB, which Phil Russo insists stands for ‘Cunts, Cocksuckers, Rats and Ballbusters,’ but is actually the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

5. any thing or person seen as extraordinary or outstanding.

[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 139: This Zero is a ball-buster.
[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 29: Let me warn you, he’s one hell of a ball-buster.
[US] M. McBride Frank Sinatra in a Blender [ebook] He’s a detective and a real ballbuster. Kinda guy who lives to do the right thing.

6. (also buster) a tease.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 27: Carol dresses like she wants some, but she is such a ball buster. [Ibid.] 51: buster see ball buster.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 295: Neria appraised the face in the photograph. A ballbuster.