Green’s Dictionary of Slang

busted adj.1

also busted up
[SE bust/bust v.1 ]

1. (also busted down) in fig. use, dead, finished.

[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 184: He had not touched a drop of anything for forty-two mortal long hard-working days; and that he ‘wished he might be busted if he warn’t as dry as a lime-backet’.
[US]‘Major Jones’ Sketches of Travel 11: All my plans is busted up.
[US]B. Harte Gabriel Conroy III 181: It was a mighty sharp move of Pete Dumphy’s bailin’ thet Gabe, right in the face of that there ‘dropped lead’ in his busted-up mine!
[UK]Leeds Times 25 Mar. 6/5: I’m clean busted on that wheat.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Bush Undertaker’ in Roderick (1972) 53: Brummy! by gosh! — busted up at last!
[US]M.H. Foote Coeur d’Alene 165: The poor boy’s busted.
[UK]Marvel XIV 3 Sept. 358: ‘I want an apology from you,’ he said [...] ‘Then I’ll see you dog-bit and busted before I give it!’ cried Dan.
[UK]Gem 4 Nov. 19: An’ I ses as it’s busted ’eavy!
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 127: The party’s all busted up.
[US]A.J. Liebling ‘The University of Eighth Avenuie’ in A Neutral Corner (1990) 29: A busted down colored middleweight [...] walked in.
[UK]H.E. Bates Oh! To be in England (1985) 377: Finished. Busted. Thinking of turning it in.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 84: Fuck it. If they bust me, I’m busted.
[US]S. King Christine 344: He doesn’t know what’s going on. Poor busted-luck sonofawhore.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 296: A dead car half-stripped at the side of the street, shot, busted, annulled, abashed.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘You are so busted’.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘Byron, it’s Avery. We’re busted [...] Snouch [...] knows who you are, what you did’.

2. (also bursted) broken; also fig. use.

[US]W.T. Porter Big Bear of Arkansas (1847) 128: ‘What’s busted, Jem?’ ‘Hell has busted and no mistake! the ground is kivered with snow!’.
[US]Newberry Herald (SC) 15 Aug. n.p.: Now I’m a gone nutmeg, a busted what-do-you-call-it.
[US]Native Virginian (Orange Court House, VA) 15 May 1/5: ‘Does the stage ever get upset?’ ‘It got busted all to h-ll, yestiday’.
[US]Dodge City Times 16 June in Miller & Snell Why the West was Wild 21: The only injuries sustained by the loser [...] were two ears chewed off, one eye bursted.
[US]G.W. Bagby Old Virginia Gentleman (1910) 93: The ‘bustid’ condition of the bridge has made church-going by the Jackson’s mill route impossible.
[US]A.C. Gunter Miss Dividends 74: ‘The Cap looks as busted up as if he had lost on four aces,’ for he goes about in a broken kind of a way.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 134: The critter can’t eat or drink with a busted jaw.
[US]S. Lewis Main Street (1921) 14: We land in a rut of obstetrics and typhoid and busted legs.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 178: And there were so many teeth gone and busted from the corpse that we’ve not got much out of that.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 116: He’s got a busted head, but that’ll mend.
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 33: Staring him right in the eye, is the patch on the busted tire of my old car.
[UK]P. Willmott Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 97: Had a fight in break with a boy called Stephen S. I got a busted mouth.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 111: With relief I saw that none of my bones were busted.
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 256: The heater’s busted.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 243: For the first time in days, his busted-up knee didn’t hurt so much.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 19: He got up to turn on the TV. Nothing happened. ‘This busted or what?’.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 301: Fire crew cut me out. Ambulance crew take care my busted ribs.
[NZ]A. Duff Jake’s Long Shadow 223: He managed a smile from that busted-up face. It must have hurt, for he winced.

3. exhausted.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 46: Three of the cattle gents now snored noisily from the sawdust covered floor in the back room, drunk and busted.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley Says 92: Th’ Japs had gone a thousand miles [...] an’ were about busted.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 59: He gets back home, four in the morning, bushed and busted.
[US]Sounds 21 July n.p.: She woke up broke and busted in Wallsend [KH].

4. caught out, in a non-criminal context.

[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 17: I thought I’d ’a’ busted when the bloke at the well told me.
[US] in B. Jackson In the Life (1972) 316: I was busted (somebody recognised him) up there on it.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 2: busted – caught doing something wrong.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 32: We were busted cold.

5. (US, also busted out) expelled, thrown out, esp. from an institutional job; reduced in rank.

[US]H.O. Flipper Colored Cadet at West Point 51: ‘Busted,’ ‘broken.’—These words apply only to cadet officers who are reduced to ranks.
[UK]A.G. Empey Over the Top ‘Tommy’s Dict. of the Trenches’ 285: ‘Busted.’ Term applied when a non-commissioned officer is reduced by court-martial.
[US]S. Lewis World So Wide 239: You can’t see me busted like this.
[US]T. O’Brien Going After Cacciato (1980) 131: Then the MPs show up [...] Next morning I’m busted.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 4: faced – denied or refused [...] Also busted.

6. depressed, in pain.

[US]Edna Hicks ‘Hard Luck Blues’ [lyrics] I’m simply busted, / And I’m blue, / ’Cause I’m so down and out.
[US](con. 1912) H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 353: The poor kid’s all busted up over the way she treated you, Patsy.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Lily of St. Pierre’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 142: Old Doctor Armand Dorval is going to be all busted up if he hears what really happens.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Very Honorable Guy’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 429: Doc Bodeeker seems all busted up by his feelings and starts to shed tears.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 45: Son-of-a-bitch, Man, I’m busted.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 118: It’s a cry of pure pain and sometimes it’s only a sigh. Either way, it would like to break your heart. So high and soft and busted.
[US]S. Longstreet Straw Boss (1979) 3497: She’s all busted up, too.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 12: Geezer lyin there all busted.

7. (also busted in) drunk.

[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 36: Bumbo drunk. Bumbo busted.
Joe Sun ‘Bombed, Boozed and Busted’ [lyrics] I get bombed, boozed and busted a-living on a honkytonk time.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Busted in (adj.) 1. Intoxicated; drunk. 2. Hung-over.

8. (UK teen/US black/campus) ugly, unattractive.

[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Busted (adj.) Ugly looking.
[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] busted Definition: [...] 2. an ugly person; very offensive or unattractive to look at Example: That hoe Tammi, she a busted ass hoe!
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014.
[UK]Independent 5 Jan. [Internet] Supposedly ugly contemporaries are condemned as busted, finished, flames, hangin’, bruk, or just uggz.

9. (US campus) wrong.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 2: busted – Wrong.