bust up v.
1. (also bust) to have a major quarrel, to end a love-affair, to divorce.
|Dreiser-Mencken Letters I (1986) 107: I am glad you are considering a good offer but please be sure it won’t ‘bust-up’ after you have severed important connections elsewhere.letter 12 Nov. in Riggio|
|Sel. Letters (1981) 257: I have nothing but love admiration and respect for Hadley and while we are busted up I have not in any way lost Bumby. He lived with me in Switzerland after the divorce.letter 14 Sept. in Baker|
|Bruiser 55: I think we’d better bust up.|
|Mildred Pierce (1985) 342: You mean you’ve busted up?|
|Simply Heavenly I iii: I told Isabel when we busted up that she had shared my bed, my board [...] but I did not want to share another thing with her from that day to this, not even a divorce.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 105: She had just busted with Knuckles [...] one of the local pimps.‘Detrot Redhead’ in|
|In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 173: They stared at each other, old friends almost about to get busted up because of a woman.|
|Night People 131: They had busted up right after her recent abortion.|
2. to stop something, e.g. a fight, happening.
|Cook Co. Herald (MN) 23 Mar. 4/4: That confounded editor is roasting me again. Tell me how I can bust up his infernal paper.|
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 7 Nov. 1/3: Hearing of his success in Australia the poor law guardians sent the son out, and so ‘bust up’ the show.|
|Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 42: Seems tough for me to bust up now.|
|Big League (2004) 23: We’ve got to bust this thing up somehow.‘The Low Brow’ in|
|Babbitt (1974) 119: Well, sir, it’s been a great session. Sorry to bust it up.|
|They Drive by Night 168: Even getting a cigarette off them bust things up momentarily.|
|Neon Wilderness (1986) 44: You shoulda seen him when the coppers bust it [i.e. a fight] up.|
|Hell’s Angels (1967) 111: The Chronicle uncovered a heart-wrenching Hell’s Angels plan to ‘bust up’ a charity benefit for The Guide Dogs for the Blind.|
3. to conclude, e.g. an evening out or a party.
|Classics in Sl. 58: This busted up the party and the shriekin’ Mac is carried away, one of the first and most famous victims of the D.T.’s.|
|Iron Man 221: Coke took out a cigar and gave it to the waiter. ‘I’ll see you when we bust up.’.|
|Parm Me 144: Before we bust up [...] I just wanna express the thanks I know Kitty Shapiro is gonna feel towards you members.|
|Scrambled Yeggs 75: He was in every hand all night. Right up to about one, Thursday a.m. That’s when the game finally busted up.|
4. (US) to make someone else laugh.
|Sl. U. 51: bust up [...] to make (someone) laugh.|
|Conversation with the Mann 59: I could tell jokes, though. That I could do. I would bust up the boys with some bits I heard from comics on Toast of the Town.|
5. see bust v.1