Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bust v.1

1. to invade, lit. or fig.

(a) (also burst, bus’em up, bust into, bust up) to intrude, to break into; thus bursting/busting n.

[US] ‘A London Ken-cracking Song’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 20: And when his Peter we did burst, / His golden chain I hobbled first.
[UK]Satirist (London) 24 July 125/3: My second by cracksmen so gay, / Very often is sure to be burst.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 16: bust. To enter forcibly.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 10/1: We looked around for some time before we had an opportunity of trying what the ‘screws’ could do at the front, and finding that it would be no ‘bottle’ there without ‘bursting’ it, we gave up the notion of an entrance that way.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 26 Oct. n.p.: Robinson, the ‘cracksman, who got a ‘brace of stretches’ for bursting a ‘crib’ in George street.
[Aus]M. Clarke Term of His Natural Life (1897) 213: They broke locks, and burst doors, and ‘neddied’ constables.
[US]A. Pinkerton Reminiscences 88: That very popular method of ‘bank-bursting,’ which consists of renting a room [...] and then, if possible, tunneling through into the vaults.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 31: It wasn’t anything but a Sunday-school picnic [...] We busted it up and chased the children up the hollow.
[UK]Sketch (London) 22 Feb. 18: ‘I didn’t have the togs fer ter bust er house with, ’cause yer can’t carry around a lot of “relievers” (that’s jimmies an’ bars an’ false keys)’.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 365: It ain’t right to go bustin’ into people’s packs.
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 65: If he busts the box, he’s got to carry it on a horse.
[US]‘Max Brand’ Pleasant Jim 281: Busted open another bank?
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 515: If he could have busted into something big that way, he’d be much better off to-day.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 44: Doing a couple of years for busting a two-bit grocery.
[UK]P. Hoskins No Hiding Place! 192/1: Busting a Joint. House-breaking.
[UK]I, Mobster 14: This Calicci and a couple of other guys had busted into a cigarette warehouse.
[US]Thief’s Primer 70: We was stealing every night, man; we was busting safes every night.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 6: I must have busted four hunded boxes and lifted more than a million.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 62: He’d been nicked for busting chemist shops.
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 13: bus’em up To steal a car. ‘We all gettin’ ready to go out an bus’em up.’.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Bust. 1. Break and enter. As in to ‘do a bust’.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 16: All cushty on the front line except a car window bustin in some distance off.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 35/1: bust red hot to catch a person in the act of committing a crime.

(b) to raid, to arrest.

[US]E. Lee Prison, Camp and Pulpit 136: I got 400 hoodlums together and organized them into a school [...] and then the gang announced that they were going to come over and ‘bust’ me.
[UK]I. Fleming Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 163: Then the place got busted by the gangs.
[US]A. Anderson ‘Dance of the Infidelsin Lover Man 158: ‘Ain’t much shaking. The Man done put the finger on the kats and everybody’s layin’ low. My boy got busted’.
[US]Cloward & Ohlin Delinquency and Opportunity in Yablonsky (1962) 182: Others who cannot graduate beyond ‘heisting’ candy stores or ‘busting’ gas stations.
[Can]J. Mandelkau Buttons 52: Harley Pete and the Road Rats busted the cafe.
[Aus]B. Ellem Doing Time 187: busted: to be raided or searched or arrested by the police; for example, ‘he was busted for drugs’.
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 33: If one of my people say they got busted I wanna read it in the papers. If it ain’t in the papers somebody’s gonna get hurt.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mud Crab Boogie (2013) [ebook] Nizegy had just got busted.
Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 bust [...] 2. to break up, arrest. (‘The cops busted the party.’ ‘He got busted for drugs.’).
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 35/1: bust v. 1 to catch or to arrest a criminal, usually in the act of committing a crime bust red hot to catch a person in the act of committing a crime.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 107: Did you bust the party?
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘Got busted knocking off a factory‘.
[UK]K. Richards Life 187: Redlands [...] the house where we were busted.
[Aus]G. Disher Peace 26: The cop had busted her more times than she could count.
[Scot]G. Armstrong Young Team 3: Our area is jumpin wae polis, aw lookin tae bust yi.
[US]Rayman & Blau Riker’s 19: [T]ooling around the Upper West Side, ready to bust a bicyclist for any minor violation.

(c) as sense 1b but of those without formal authority, e.g. a club doorman.

[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] I’d tossed him out of The Cellar [i.e. a club] after I busted him lighting a hash pipe.

(d) see blockbust v.

2. to cause trouble for.

(a) (US, also bust up on) to cause to go bankrupt, to ruin.

[US]Democratic Press (Ravenna, OH) 27 May 1/3: ‘Let’s raise the ante to twenty dollars,’ said Sparks [...] ‘Jingo! it’s too much! You’ll bust me!’ exclaimed Brown.
[US]B. Harte ‘Chiquita’ in Poems 54: Did you know Briggs of Tuolumne? / Busted hisself in White Pine, and blew out his brains down in ’Frisco?
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn (2001) 215: It most busted them, but they made up the six thousand clean and clear.
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘The War-Cry’ Dagonet Ditties 142: French rolls they have ‘bust’ the baker.
[UK]Sporting Times 7 Jan. 1/3: I’m straight as any arrow, and my bank you cannot bust.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 25: bust, v.t. To cause to fail.
[US]M. Glass Potash And Perlmutter 22: He looked like his best customer had busted up on him.
[US]J.E. Rendinell diary 4 Apr. in One Man’s War (1928) 68: Gee, things sure broke pretty for me. I busted them all – 2300 francs.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 179: He was bustin’ himself bettin’, and I pulled ’im out of it.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 47: ‘This viper’s looking for some loot, Wallace. Any ideas?’ [...] ‘The charge is busting me’.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 199: If your uncle got wind he’d bust the issue?
[UK](con. c.1920) D. Holman-Hunt My Grandmothers and I (1987) 104: Sometimes a haughty one, sneering over her notebook, would say in a loud voice: ‘You don’t want to bust yourself do you?’.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 18 Apr. in Proud Highway (1997) 508: Unless De Gaulle manages to bust the Dollar sometime soon.
[US](con. 1950s) D. Goines Whoreson 104: My plans for busting him began to dim.

(b) (also burst) to inform against.

[UK]Leeds Mercury 4 Apr. 7/5: [Tipperary Assizes, Ireland] Well, my fine boy, whenl did you turn informer? [...] When did yout split, or burst as they say in the Terry slang — when did you stag?
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 14: bust, or burst, to tell tales [...] to inform.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 13: Burst, to inform.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 284: He’s the only person who could bust us.
[US]T. Wolff The Barracks Thief 91: If the clerk had busted him at poker, or if someone in his family was sick [etc].
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 286: They could bust you pronto to the Spanish authorities.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] And anyway, who’s going to bust him? A lot of people [...] These days, every cop’s got a bull’s-eye on his back.

(c) to reduce in rank, to demote; occas. to expel completely.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 104: Jack Fahey [...] had been busted from post Sergeant-Major.
[US]Denton (MD) Journal 24 Oct. 1/7: Slang of the Sailor When a man is disrated to a lower rating he is ‘busted’.
[US]R. Lardner Treat ’Em Rough 81: He got called up before his captain and he busted him and I don’t mean he cracked him in the jaw but when a man gets busted in the army it means you get reduced to a private.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 298: I got to be a sergeant overseas till they busted me for going A.W.O.L.
[US](con. 1918) L. Nason Top Kick 10: ‘If you wanted to get busted, why didn’t you resign?’ ‘I didn’t want to get busted. I wanted to get promoted.’.
[US]L.M. Limpus Honest Cop 17: It was the subject of hushed conversations in a hundred station houses [...] that epic fall of the crusading Deputy Chief Inspector [...] ‘[Police Commissioner] Whalen busted him just as far as the civil service regulations would let him,’ the old-timers told the recruits.
[US]C.R. Bond 22 Dec. in A Flying Tiger’s Diary (1984) 64: I heard that Sandy ‘busted’ Frank from being operations officer for being late with his dawn patrol flight.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 794: You see, Galovitch aint the platoon guide of the 2nd Platoon any more. Galovitch is been busted.
[US]B. Appel Plunder (2005) 231: He had become an officer and had been busted.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 162: I just got busted out of — the Marines.
[US]B. Jackson Thief’s Primer 68: The chief lost his job on account of it. He testified at my trial and they busted him to a patrolman.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 179: There was one rumour about a colleague of Strychnine’s buggering a cook, or was it a NAAFI orderly, and getting busted.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 12: The luckless and careless CID alike went back into uniform or were busted out. [Ibid.] 188: That was something Sneed could drop from a great height on the DS, and it would certainly get him busted out.
[US]B. Jackson Killing Time 179: He had been busted from do-pop to a rank man.
[US](con. 1964–73) W. Terry Bloods (1985) 18: He ended up giving me an Article 15 for disrespect. And I got busted one rank and fined $25.
[US](con. 1969) N.L. Russell Suicide Charlie 50: He was an E-7 with twenty-six years in service who’d been busted in rank stateside more than once for chickenshit infractions.
[Aus]G. Disher Deathdeal [ebook] ‘They’ll laugh in my face. I’d be busted back to uniform duty’.
[Aus]P. Temple Black Tide (2012) [ebook] According to these heroes, Gary was consorting with some very bad people, should have been busted much earlier.

(d) (also bust out at) to arrest, esp. on a drugs charge.

Current Hist. and Forum 7 Nov. 22: The inmates describe [...] how they got busted out at [sic] (arrested) [HDAS].
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 66: The police chief was too busy mixing drinks to bust himself under the prohibition act.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 121: Lupita calls one of her friends on the narcotics squad and the pusher is busted.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 138: We’re busting Sarnt Issy as it is, for whipping more of the stores.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 34: I was Big Tony’s bam. Yeah, before he was busted by the fuzz I was his deb.
[US]S. Greenlee Spook who Sat by the Door (1972) 79: The guards are the safest pushers in the city — ‘they can’t bust you in the slam’.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 43: We don’t want any trouble...if she gets busted.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 44: You bust a good felony and you tell him to throw up his hands.
[US] E. E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 22: Got busted ’cause I lef’ home without d’ permission of my parole officer.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 25: A pig is one of the boys in blue and busts you for speeding.
[US]R. Campbell Wizard of La-La Land (1999) 224: What was I supposed to do, bust him or bend over?
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 45: How’m I gonna tell everyone I got busted for two quid an’ a cornetto?
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 busted Definition: 1. getting arrested by the fuzz.
[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 231: You can bust these kids, see, and you can bust the users, but so what?
[Aus]L. Redhead Rubdown [ebook] Sean would have busted the lot of them.

(e) (US teen) to tease.

[US]Long Beach Press-Telegram 14 Dec. 8: Don’t bust me means quit kidding.

(f) (US) to catch someone or something out, to uncover.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 48: Our sleeping niche under the stairs had long ago been busted.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 205: I thought Joey had busted me [...] I thought she’d figured out the water scam.
[Aus] L. Redhead ‘Grassed’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] Sharni had busted her and it turned into a full on scrag fight.

(g) of a college professor, to fail a student.

[US]R. Farina Been Down So Long 51: They can’t bust you, Heff.

(h) to discipline, e.g. at work.

[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 36: I could bust the whole fuckin’ mob of you [...] Every day the [guard] captain gets a dozen snitch letters about those maniacs.
[US]B. Hamper Rivethead (1992) 188: When Jehan was finally busted, Henry sent him down to our area away from any stop buttons.

(i) (US) to get the better of, to ‘put one over on’.

[US]W.D. Myers ‘some men are just funny that way’ in What They Found 79: ‘[T]hen the crowd starts getting in on the action because I’m a woman. They’re saying things like, “Yo, she’s busting you guys!”’.

(j) see bust out v.5 (1)

3. to go on a spree; thus busting n.

[US]J.C. Neal Charcoal Sketches (1865) 176: For my part, I think this bustin’ of yourn looks bad, [...] ’specially when you’re goin’ it on crab-apple cider.
[US]N.O. Picayune 14 Feb. n.p.: Because I was a good-natured fellow, I had to go with them, rollicking, teapartying, excursioning, and busting generally.

4. to suffer a lit. or fig. ‘break-down’.

(a) (US campus) to fail an examination.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 25: bust, v.i. To fail in recitation or examination.
[US]R. Bolwell ‘College Sl. Words And Phrases’ in DN IV:iii 232: bust, v. To fail in an examination.
[US]V. Carter ‘University of Missouri Sl.’ in AS VI:3 203: bust a course: fail to pass a course of study. [...] bust a quiz: fail to pass an examination.
[US] ‘Citadel Gloss.’ in AS XIV:1 Feb. 25/2: bust, v. To fail in.
[US]F. Eikel Jr ‘An Aggie Vocab. of Sl.’ in AS XXI:1 31: bust, vit. [...] (2) To fail a course.
[US]L.P. Boone ‘Gator Sl.’ AS XXXIV:2 156: To make a perfect score on a test is to [...] bust it; however, bust may also mean to fail.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 1: bust – make an error.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Sept. 1: bust – fail.

(b) (Aus.) to fail at, to blunder.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 1 May 5/1: Garnet Walch and A. P. Martin tried to start a paper of fashion, called the Empire [...] They ‘busted’ on the fashion plates, Neither of' them know a jersey from an Ulster overcoat.

(c) (orig. US, also burst, burst up, bust up) to come to (financial) ruin, to go bankrupt.

W.J. Snelling Exposé of Gaming 10: Two persons who had bursted were sitting vis a vis by the fire-place [DA].
[US]J.C. Neal Charcoal Sketches (1865) 68: The goods had gone out on a bust long before I busted.
[Scot]Blackwood’s Mag. Apr. 498: Simple persons who have been smarter or earlier in the field of fortune will burst up some fine morning, and leave the road open to others.
[US]O. Taffany Canton Chinese 114: Since my return from China the revulsions of trade have overtaken him, and always inflated, he has finally ‘busted’.
[US]‘Falconbridge’ Dan Marble 34: The old Chatham company ‘busted up,’ the treasury caved in, and the doors were closed.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 53: Banks are bustin every day, goin up higher nor any balloon of which we hav any record.
[UK]Sportsman 5 Mar. 2/2: Notes on News [...] G. F. Train has ‘bust up’ at lust. After going up ‘like rocket, has come down like stick.’.
[US]E. Perkins Saratoga in 1901 208: ‘I’m afraid our “singing business” is going to “bust up”’.
[UK]Besant & Rice Golden Butterfly II 224: I hold twenty thousand shares. If I sell out, that company will bust up.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 30 Oct. 7/3: The famous Ladies’ Bank of Boston [...] has at last ‘busted’.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer III 149: They believe that [...] the whole thing will ‘bust up’ directly.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 June 1/6: ‘If I rest I rust,’ is a German proverb. ‘If I trust I bust,’ is the tradesman’s version.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 20 Jan. 2/4: A certain show suddenly ‘bust up’ last one day week. The gifted author-manahgwer offered the professional ladies of the compnay promissory notes [...] in full payment of their services.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 2: It ain’t no wonder that hotels is bustin’ every day.
[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 223: ‘I shouldn’t have thought you would have been able to get away from the paper,’ I said. ‘I say,’ I went on, struck by a pleasing idea. ‘It hasn’t bust up, has it?’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Snatching of Bookie Bob’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 116: The stockmarket going all to pieces, and the banks busting.
[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers III i: Once upon a time, ’e ’ad a business. Then ’is business bust.

5. to attack physically.

(a) (also burst) to kill, to murder.

[US]‘Mark Twain’ Roughing It 27: Here I’ve sot, and sot, and sot, a-bustin’ musketeers [i.e. mosquitoes].
[UK]G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) Mar. 77: [orig. in the San Francisco News Letter] My love fell out of a tree, / And busted herself on a cruel rock; / A solemn sight to see.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 412: Murder. Kill, bump off, slough, croak, bust.
[US]Mad mag. May-June 20: My life were better busted by their noise.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 19 Oct. in Proud Highway (1997) 356: I have also bought a small pistol and carry it like Sam Spade, ready at all times to bust the bastards.
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 13: bustin’ To do a drive-by shooting.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 59: Red Eyes has been burst. Stabbed over forty times.
1011 ‘No Hook’ 🎵 Clock me an opp wind down the window / Back out the spinner and burst him.

(b) (also burst, bust up) to hit.

[US]N.E. Police Gaz. (Boston, MA) 12 Oct. 8/4: A young man ‘busted’ him in the nose .
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Breitmann at a Picnic’ in Hans Breitmann in Europe 283: Dey bust und bang der bar-room ein, / Und call for a buckt of branntewein.
[US]B. Harte Gabriel Conroy I 109: I’ll jest bust that boy if I see him round yer agin.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn (2001) 97: I’d take en bust him over de head — dat is, if he warn’t white.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 22: [He] ‘busted’ the fifteen balls with a fierce stroke.
[US]F. Dumont Dumont’s Joke Book 80: Say, Fitzsimmons, come up here and bust this feller in de snoot.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 26 Mar. 12/3: If a feller do get busted / When he's out, sir, after dark, / He do say he were assaulted / By some ruffians In the park.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 43: Some day he will lose his temper and bust you one.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Tom, Dick, or Harry’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 240: In plain American he busted me in the nose and left me where I fell.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 16: He busts me a straight one on the puss.
[UK]S. Lister Mistral Hotel (1951) 231: Bust him one on the snoot!
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 19: What humpty-dumpties! [...] This big hitter they got—I saw him bust one up against the fence in the far right corner and only get a single.
[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 105: In any active bar you can hear a story about a bartender who ‘busted up a guy who tried to pull some karate stuff’.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 295: He thanked the deputy for the lift and told him not to brood about busting his head the way he had.
[Ire](con. 1930s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 141: I’ll burst him if she or the others hit me again.
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 10: Someone told me you bust up Terry Flynn.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 58: Busted him in the balls.
[US]‘Grandmaster Flash’ Adventures 231: [N]obody I knew saw their dad bust up their mom with a frying pan.
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 8: But hey, would you rather get bus’ upside yo’ head with no protection?

(c) to fight.

[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 258: Busting the bulls at the big show. Fighting with the police at the circus.
[Can]J. Mandelkau Buttons 32: We weren’t going to bust them.
[UK]K. Hudson Dict. of the Teenage Revolution 32: Bust. [...] To fight.

(d) (also bust down) to defeat.

Red Nelson ‘Gambling Man’ lyrics] Ain’t no use of me playing, bad luck is on my hands; / Because the best of gamblers, mama, get busted down sometimes.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 207: Win or bust – what the hell was there to it, otherwise? Win or bust. Fine.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Rock 57: You should have taken Lubo on and busted him down.

(e) to rape, to deflower (forcibly); also homosexual use.

[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 73: With ’em came a complement of rapists of renown. / They busted every maidenhead that come within their spell, / But they never made the waitress from the Prince George Hotel.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 38: He laid her down on a downy bed, / And busted in her maidenhead.
[US]C.B. Hopper Sex in Prison 93: That’s what makes me mad – when some freak tries to bust a young boy.
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘Bell-bottom Trousers’ in More Snatches and Lays 66: The forty-second Army Corps came in to paint the town. [...] They busted every maidenhead, and staggered out again.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 117: Out in the street, he talked trash like everyone else did, telling himelf and everyone else he was gonna bust the bitch.

(f) (US) to shoot.

E. Leonard Mr Majestyk 38: ‘Sees Renda get out of his car, walk up to the man and bust him five times with a thirty-eight’.

6. (orig. US) to go very fast; thus bust along, bust it, bust off.

[US]W.T. Porter Big Bear of Arkansas (1847) 131: ‘Massa Chunkey is risin’,’ said Sol, and then he busted.
[US]J. Harrison ‘Negro English’ in Anglia VII 261: To bus’ orf or off = to run away quickly.
[UK] ‘My Sally’ in Baumann (1902) cxx: My pony-trap, yes, it’s a flyer. / As we busted last Sunday through Bow.
[US]Wash. Post 10 Dec. 4/4: He rips him with his chive and busts.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 31: The boy’s a streak [...] He ain’t tryin’ his hardest, an’ Red-head’s just bustin’ himself.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 161: I didn’t like the party anyways, and would of busted away during the first five minutes if Judy hadn’t of been there.
[US]E. Caldwell Bastard (1963) 65: Flo was a damn nice kid. I wish she hadn’t gone and busted off like she did.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Blood Pressure’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 82: I wish to get where I am going all in one piece, but the guy only keeps busting along.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 107: Brer Rabbit come bustin’ cross de marsh.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 388: Two deputies jumped in a car and come busting down the mountain.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 21: That kid bustin’ jungle in the lead tank was busting some bad jungle too.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 5: Folks do not want to hear about Alpha Company — us grunts — busting jungle and busting cherries.
[US]B. Hamper Rivethead (1992) 132: The steering gear man never asked about this nor anything else, he just kept bustin’ it.
[US]Hope College ‘Dict. of New Terms’ 🌐 bust To hurry. [...] ‘I have to bust if I am going to have this assignment done on time.’.
[US]W.D. Myers Handbook for Boys 160: [W]hen I got out I busted on up to her crib.
W.D. Myers Cruisers: Oh, Snap! 87: ‘[T]hen we can just all bust down to the police station with Kambui and fess up’.

7. to ‘explode’ physically.

(a) (also burst, bust up) to explode with any form of pent-up emotion, e.g. laughter or rage.

[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans III 203: Heartley bit his lips, Richmond was ready to burst, which Trillmore prevented, by giving vent to his own confined laughter.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker III 51: He was jist ready to bust, and make all fly agin with rage.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Tales of College Life 24: ‘Don’t bust yourself!’ ‘You’ll split yer veskit, guv’nor!’.
[UK]R. Whiteing No. 5 John Street 68: Wish I may die, if I’d larf; and if I didn’t, I should have to bust.
[UK] (ref. to 1878) J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 57/2: Bust (Street, 1878). Burst, or explode with rage, and so join the majority.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘The ‘Look-See’’ in Naval Occasions 121: ‘That’s enough – no more in this boat – it’s not safe! Please stand back, it’s – oh, d……!’ [...] ‘Orl right, my son, don’t bust yerself.’.
[US] ‘When Bob Got Throwed’ in J.A. Lomax Songs of the Cattle Trail 53: That time when Bob got throwed / I thought I sure would bust. / I like to died a-laffin’ .
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 46: For a moment I thought my head was going to bust.
[US]Botkin Lay My Burden Down 210: I been busting I was so mad.
[US]G. Kerouac letter 1 Apr. in Charters I (1995) 50: I’m just about ready to bust. I’m that worried [...] I’m frantic.

(b) (orig. US, also bust up) to break down in laughter.

[US]E. Dahlberg Bottom Dogs 135: At this the two coons almost busted.
[US]J. Wambaugh Blue Knight 185: He starts chuckling, then pretty soon he busts up.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 51: bust up 1. to laugh.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 76: Rameez was busting himself likely to come out his stitches, seemed it made a great improvement in his condition clocking me in pain.
[US]T. Swerdlow Straight Dope [ebook] [H]e busts a laugh just for punctuation,.

(c) (US black) to ejaculate, esp. prematurely.

[US]Current Sl. III:3 4: Bust, v. To ejaculate prematurely or unsatisfactorily.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 snowballer Definition: bitch be suckin and you bust in her mouth then she be tryin to kiss ya Example: Last night that bitch tried snowballin on me, so I slap tha bitch.
67 ‘Skengs’ 🎵 Big back she can ride on my cock, she tellin' me that she ain't done squats / I bust 2 times at my dots, left her slumped in her bed then I'm off.
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 111: I pull out and buss all over her mum’s living room floor.

(d) (US black) to reprimand aggressively; to attack verbally.

[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: bustv. […] 2. to tell someone off; to speak one’s mind.
[US]J. Díaz This Is How You Lose Her 167: Paloma doesn’t stop busting. They say Mr Everson likes to put on dresses.

8. a euph. for to hell with...! under hell n.

[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 237: I’ll give him the lot, bust him! [...] Hang you! cuss you! bust you!
[UK]J. Greenwood Unsentimental Journeys 207: ‘Haloo, here’s Dick! Found your dawg, Dick?’ ‘Bust him, no!’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Angling’ in Punch 30 July 45/2: Jack ’as cut me since then at the ‘Primrose Club,’ bust ’im! I don’t care a toss.
[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 133: I begun to think you was drunk, or dead, or somethin’—bust you.
[UK]Marvel III:54 8: Bust the bother!
[UK]Gem 23 Jan. 2: Bu’st your dorg!
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 63: Why don’t yer keep still [...] an’ let me walk round yer, bust yer?
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘The Reformed Pub’ Sporting Times 17 July 1/3: ‘Bust reformers,’ growled the man who talked till ‘time’ was shouted.

9. an all-purpose term, to happen, to do (esp. skillfully).

[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 4: Come on Florrie, you and me ain’t shy; we’ll begin, and bust it. The two girls took hold of one another [...] and they began to waltz.
D. Jenkins Dogged Victims 30: It is asking a lot, I know, to expect anyone to believe that you can bust a drive about 250 yards on a 339-yard hole.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 39: bust some suds to drink beer.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 50: At the first driveway, bust a U-turn.
[Aus]Cypress Hill Sl. Gloss. 🌐 bust: to do something (hanging out, relaxing, check something out).
[US]Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry 🌐 bustin’ v. (derived from ‘busting’) executing an action, usually flawlessly, that takes skill. ‘Check out Dominic. He’s bustin’ some phatty moves!’.
[US]W.D. Myers Game 57: I didn’t want to bust a grin on my man.
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 87: Usher [...] singing a love song to her, bussin out the dance movesl.
[US]J. Hannaham Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit 247: I started to bust some logic.

10. (Aus., also bust up) to waste money, usu. on drink.

[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 1 Dec. 1/1: ‘John’ promptly appropriated the £10 given to the girl to ‘get’ with [and] he is now ‘busting up’ the tenner under ‘Form J’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Oct. 12/3: The very next case concerned the misdemeanors of Lily May Matthews, who, immediately after marriage, began to neglect her household duties and bust up her hubby’s earnings in riotous living.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Cow’ in Backblock Ballads 37: An’ the many ways I’ve busted money, when I should er trusted / It ter cattle an’ erconomy.
[Aus]Narromine News (NSW) 25 Oct. 9/5: Sing a song o’ three ‘browns,’ / Think of what it means, / ‘Busted up’ on ice creams / Or on limousines.
[UK]‘George Orwell’ Keep The Aspidistra Flying (1962) 168: He’d spend every penny he had if he felt like it. Ten whole quid to bust!
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 129: Bust the lot. Get Oscar to do the buying so’s not to arouse suspicion that we’re off.
[NZ]J. Charles Black Billy Tea 58: Chasing sheep up and down the ruddy hills, / To bust one cheque a year / On racehorses and beer.

11. to surpass, e.g. a record.

[US]H. Wiley Wildcat 38: The Wildcat busted his previous records for long-distance sleep.

12. (US black) to alter a natural crinkly black head of hair into a straight process n. (1) style.

[US]F. Swados House of Fury (1959) 20: Bluebell’s hair glowed like ebony; it was straight and soft, the envy of all the girls, for she never had to grease or ‘bust’ it.

13. to ‘break’, as in journalistic stories.

[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 33: Man, what a story. If I could bust something like that, they’d give me the paper.

14. to do well, esp. in a school/college test, to receive a good grade, e.g. he busted an A in Math.

[US]L.P. Boone ‘Gator Sl.’ AS XXXIV:2 156: To make a perfect score on a test is to [...] bust it.
[US]W.D. Myers Hoops 87: There was a little three-on-three action going down, and I [...] busted the first game I played. [...] Everything I threw up dropped in .
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 2: bust a test – to do well on a test.
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 5: Busting fat: Doing something very well.

15. to solve a crime.

[US]J. Ellroy Suicide Hill 97: If we don't bust this thing [a bank robbery] in a week or so, I'll plant a man in the bank.

16. (UK black) to launch, e.g. a new song or artist.

[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 177: I’m gonnas bus’ de lyrics maybe nex’ week inna Crucial Rocker blues.
DJ Cameo on 1Xtra [BBC radio] Busting new talent. That’s what we’ve been doing from day dot.

17. (rap music) to pay attention, to notice, to listen to, to enjoy.

[US]D. Burke Street Talk 2 48: Bust this tune!
[US]P. Atoon Rap Dict. 🌐 bust this (interj) Pay attention. – ‘But bust this!’ – Ice-T (Bitches 2 [1991]).

18. (US campus) to fall down.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct.

19. (US black) to be worthy of respect.

[US]T.I. ‘Kingofdasouth’ 🎵 It's only five rappers outta Atlanta who bustin’ and I’m one of ’em.

20. see bust up v. (2)

In phrases

bust... (v.)

see also under relevant n. or adj.

bust a blood-vessel (v.) (also bust an artery)

to lose one’s temper, to lose emotional control.

Hamilton Co. Ledger (Noblesville, IN) 22 Mar. 1/4: [cartoon caption] The cabby ’e flopped darn that there quick ’e nearly bust a blood vessel.
Outlook LXXII 92/2: ‘Well, Solon,’ says I, when I walked away, ‘look out ye don’t bust a blood-vessel.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Dec. 14/1: Then he reined in, and addressed Locket with a burst of profanity that is now classic in droving circles. Daddy Locket, who had recovered his natural impudence, pushed his fuzzy head through the fence. ‘There, there!’ he said, ‘don’t bust an artery. I wouldn’t ’ave hurt yer old cow.’.
[Aus]Sun (Kalgoorlie) 25 June 4/7: ‘Strike me upside down,’ he howled. ‘I muster burst a blood vessel.’.
[US](con. 1910s) J. Thompson Heed the Thunder (1994) 278: Josephine hollered at her not to bust a blood vessel.
[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 76: Okay, okay. [...] Don’t bust a blood vessel.
[US]M. Ross Gasteropod 147: Don’t bust a blood vessel, Jamie. [...] It’s not as though we’re going to encroach, is it?
[US]A. Neiderman Dark 211: Don’t bust a blood vessel. We’ll go question the guy, see where he was the night of Landry’s death.
[US]V.C. Andrews Scattered Leaves 232: Okay, don’t bust a blood vessel. I won’t read them. I’m sure they would be boring anyway.
bust a gun (v.) (also bust a strap)

(UK black) to fire a gun.

[UK]Smiley Culture ‘Cockney Translation’ 🎵 Say cockney fire shooter. We bus’ gun.
K. Koke ‘Bring Me Down (Intro)’ 🎵 You’re fucking with some street gents / That’ll cock it and buss it if you pretend.
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 20: They spit rap and grime bars about bussin guns and murking man .
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 59: He doesn’t really live the life he spits [...] wetting up man and bussin straps .
bust a rail (v.)

(US drugs) to inhale a measure of a powdered drug.

[US]L. Berney Whiplash River [ebook] Devane would bust a few rails, find a comfy seat in the theater, and watch the show.
bust around (v.)

1. (US) to fight with, to attack.

[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 161: Watch what you’re saying, or I’ll start busting you around.

2. to arrive, to appear.

[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 13: There’s all sorts of janes bust around here.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 83: I was sore as hell come busting around at two in the morning.
[US]S. Paige Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever 45: I was busting around in a flashy roadster that could really scoot.
bust a shot (v.)

(US black) to shoot someone.

[US]UGK ‘Return’ 🎵 Money tight glock, bustin them shots.
[UK]Dizzee Rascal in Vice Mag. at 🌐 ‘Bust a shot’ can mean to shoot someone, but generally these days it means drug dealing.
[US]R. Cea No Lights, No Sirens 60: [N]o street thug can feel that it is ‘kool and the gang’ to bust a shot at any one of us.
bust ass

see separate entries.

bust in (v.) (also bust into, bust through)

1. (US) to enter, with overtones of speed, aggressiveness.

[UK]Le Brunn ‘The Golden Dustman’ 🎵 Like two burglars in we bust.
[US]T.A. Dorgan ‘Daffydills’ in El Paso Herald (TX) 7 Sept. 10: Rehearsing his spiel a few times he busted in and slipped the boss an earful.
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 63: He busts into a flat, wakes up the police a mile away, sends in a riot call with every footstep, an’ comes down the porch pillar into the arms of police.
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 7: I don’t think no shine’s got no business bustin’ into no fay neighborhood.
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Sailors’ Grudge’ Fight Stories Mar. 🌐 We craves to bust into the movies.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 378: The kind of a guy who could bust right into any kind of a joint, no matter how swell it was, and act like he belonged there.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 61: When I busted in I came face to face with Jellyroll Morton, the composer of many a jazz classic.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 276: She was ginned up when the firemen busted in and she told them to get the hell out of her boudoir.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 106: That’s Angel’s alarm system [...] If the heat ever busts in here, he’ll have plenty of warning.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 45: The law came busting through the door.
[US]‘Joe Bob Briggs’ Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In 36: So he busts in and says, ‘Okay, where is she?’.
[US]P. Earley Hot House 43: [T]wo dudes busted in on this guy in the cell next to mine and stuck him twenty-six times with shanks.
[US]W.D. Myers ‘the real deal’ in What They Found 167: Mavis Brown had come busting into his shop.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 64: ‘You’ll probably have to bust in’.

2. to interfere, to interrupt, to butt in.

[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 92: I had no hesitancy about busting in as soon as I heard my friend Jimmy Hooper kidding her along.
[US]Black Mask Aug. III 112: ‘Why didn’t you let me go with you?’ I busted in.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 107: I reckon he ain’ so pleased with my bustin’ in like this.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 37/2: Bust in. [...] 2. To walk in brazenly where one is uninvited; to break in rudely upon a conversation.
[US]W.D. Myers Shooter 123: [I]f I have any questions concerning what you say, I’ll bust in and ask them.

3. to gatecrash a party.

[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 186: Owen Williams won’t mind us busting in.
bust it (v.)

1. (US black) to perform at one’s best.

[US]W.D. Myers Slam! 178: ‘[W]hen you are doing what you love, you got to bust it. And when you do, it works’.
[US]W.D. Myers Game 28: With high school ball you usually have one dude who can bust it and three or four dudes who can play some.

2. (US) to ejaculate.

[US]UGK ‘Let Me See It’ 🎵 Let me bust it in yo’ cheek (cheek) / Til you muthafuckin’ choke (choke).
bust it open (v.)

(US) of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

[US]D.R. Pollock Devil All the Time 46: ‘Shit, I’d bend that sweet little thing over, and I’d …’ ‘Ha! Bernie Hill said. ‘You ol’ dog, I bet you’ve already busted it open’.
bust on (v.)

1. (US) to hit, to attack; as phr. bust on someone’s ass.

[US]H. Ellison ‘High Dice’ in Gentleman Junkie 92: He’s gonna bust on me any second now, I know it!
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 13: bust on your ass To fire a handgun at someone. ‘Fuck with that dude, an he’ll bust on your ass.’.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 19: Y’all bail, we just busted on some Families!

2. (US) to criticize.

[US]H. Ellison ‘High Dice’ in Gentleman Junkie 88: Some joker busted on Kurt [...] telling him the eggs were greasy.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 2: bust on – abuse or embarrass verbally: He busted on John.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
Brandon ‘Rev.’ 25 Nov. at 🌐 People have been busting on them because of the mellowness of their songs, but I think there [sic] an awesome band on cd and live.
E. Wald Dozens 79: Boy 1: That’s an expression: ‘Fuck your sister.’ Folklorist: When do you say that? Boy 1: When you’re busting on somebody . . . ‘Aw, fuck your sister’.

3. (US black) to inform against someone.

D. Woods ‘Safe as students want it to be!’ in Stadium World Oct. on Tacoma Schools 🌐 What is the reason that a student would not say something in this circumstance? A popular reason is that a student may be afraid that their friend is going to hate them for telling or ‘busting’ on them.
bust one’s ass (v.) (also bust one’s arse, …behind, …britches, ...buns, ...butt, ...conk, ...gun, ...pants) [ass n. (4)/arse n. (4)/behind n. (1)/buns n. (3)/butt n.1 (1c)/ conk n.1 (6) / SE pants]

1. to work extremely hard, to put in a great effort; thus busted-ass adj., hardworking.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 11 Mar. 11/1: Hi ya, Gate. I know you’re gonna bust your conk down there.
[Aus]P. White Tree of Man (1956) 75: The old Hun that you have, eatun ’is head off, and bustin’ ’is pants in the shed out there.
[US](con. WWII) R. Leckie Marines! 142: You’ll be the saddest busted-ass lieutenant.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 141: Hell no! We’re going to get out and start walking while this clown busts his britches to find the nearest cop.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 80: Think of all them fools out there bustin their asses so them bitches can sit under those hair dryers.
[US]S. Ace Stand On It (1979) 177: He’ll bust his ass getting there to race you.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 128: They could probably make that much [...] without bustin’ their butts getting in here.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 3: They busted their ass, they went for the Dream.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 34: The pay’s the same whether I’m out here getting laid or [...] busting my ass stripping down the seven-six.
[US]M. Baker Nam (1982) 158: I’m out in the bush busting my behind trying to stay alive.
[US]A. Maupin Further Tales of the City (1984) 42: I busted my butt trying to be everything to one person.
[US]S. King It (1987) 918: You’d have to really let out your stride and bust your buns.
[US](con. 1968) Bunch & Cole Reckoning for Kings (1989) 282: There were certain [...] highly illegal comforts they had all busted their ass to get.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 332: Black people were busting their butts to get into the system.
[Aus]T. Winton Lockie Leonard, Legend (1998) 61: His mum was busting her buns to get the job done.
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 75: I ain’t bustin’ my ass for nobody.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 4 Sept. 17: I’ve gotta bust my ass at the docks [...] I gotta feed my three kids.
[US]J. Ridley Everybody Smokes in Hell 75: She’d been busting her ass a good long while.
[UK]Guardian 6 Jan. 24: If I’m going to bust my butt out there, I want a piece of it.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 123: Bust yer ass for two weeks and you should have these cashed out.
[US]J. McCourt ‘Vilja de Tanquay Exults’ in Queer Street 394: Now she’s got to work, / Buckle on them Bristol Cities [i.e. fake breasts] / [...] and bust her arse.
[US] N. Flexner Disassembled Man [ebook] I have to bust my ass all day to keep food on the table .
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 54: When you’re out there hustling and busting your gun doing all types of stupid shit for these niggas it’s all good but as soon as you get knocked [...] they forget about you like you never did shit for them!
[Aus]N. Cummins Adventures of the Honey Badger [ebook] [B]usting your arse since 7am, carrying things and pushing wheelbarrows.

2. (orig. US) to get injured (esp. in a car or similar crash).

[US] ‘The Castration of the Strawberry Roan’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 95: The corral was all muddy and slicker than glass, / I lands on a rock and I busted my ass.
[US]H. Searls Hero Ship 151: ‘O.K.,’ he quavered, ‘I’ll sign it! But I hope you bust your ass!’.
R. Charles Brother Ray 200: [of a difficult plane landing] And that’s how we go into this last turn, still trying to figure ways to keep from busting our ass.
bust out

see separate entries.

bust rhymes (v.) (also bust a rhyme)

(rap music) to work as a rap musician, DJ or MC.

[US]N. Krulik Hammer and Vanilla Ice 14: Standin on stage and bustin’ a few rhymes. [Ibid.] 46: The crowd is dancing in the aisles and bustin’ rhymes.
[US]D. Burke Street Talk 2 48: That guy can really bust a rhyme.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 173: Rarely a week passed in which someone didn’t request that Winston ‘kick a verse’ or ‘bust a rhyme’.
bust slugs (v.)

to fire a gun.

Mobb Deep ‘Right Back At You’ 🎵 on Infamous [album] Thug’s selling drug, busting slugs, but he ain’t crazy.
G. Fiero ‘Rev. of Thug 4 God by Maine Attraction’ on Muse’s Muse 🌐 Sometimes the messages are cleverly accompanied by hard core terminology like ‘busting slugs,’ but Jermaine quickly clarifies that the only ‘slugs’ he’s busting are the rhymes he creates about the joy of finding God.
bust someone down (v.)

(US) to disparage.

[US]Hal Ellson ‘Tell Them Nothing’ in Tell Them Nothing (1956) 12: He ain’t busting me down, ain’t even trying.
bust someone out (v.)

(US black) of a man, to have sexual intercourse with someone, to bring to orgasm.

[US]Lady B ‘To the Beat, Y’all’ 🎵 Guess who’s bustin out Lois Lane.
[US]‘Doug E. Fresh’ ‘Freak it Out!’ 🎵 How ya makin young ladies scream and shout? / What ya do? (BUST HER OUT! BUST HER OUT!) / What ya do? (BUST HER OUT! BUST HER OUT!) / Aw man, and if she cries on the very next day / what ya do? (FREAK HER OUT! FREAK HER OUT!) / What what ya do (EAT HER OUUUUUT!).
[US]Bow Wow ‘Lets Get Down’ 🎵 She bout 25, and she been lookin at cha’. / Pull ova’ there in ya ride on 22’s and bust her out!
bust someone’s ass (v.) (also bust someone’s buns) [ass n. (4)]

1. (orig. US, also can someone’s ass) to beat up, to attack physically.

[US]J. Conroy World to Win 201: By Jesus, if I had the say so, I’d can his ass so fast his head ’d swim.
[US] ‘Bill and Lil’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 121: Ten long years of bitter regret / Won’t stop me busting your ass when I get back on the set.
[US] ‘The Skewbald Black’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 121: When I got on, he quit the ground, / He went into the air and he whirled around, / He busted my ass when I hit the ground.
[US]W. Murray Sweet Ride 169: You better get out of here [...] they are going to bust your ass some.
[US]R. Woodley Dealer 114: ‘You see, you can take a snort of coke and you think in your mind that you’re set up well for the game. Until somebody hits you, catches you correct, really busts your buns’.
[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 63: Goddammit, hit him! [...] Bust his old ass.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 105: A number of terms for fighting warn the opponent [...] just where he can expect a fist or knuckle to fall – [...] figuratively if not literally get in or bust one’s ass.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 27 July 1: If you’re black, you know if you step out of line they’s gonna bust your ass.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 59: They [i.e. prostitutes] know how to be sweet but they will bust yo’ ass if you get out of line.

2. (US) to harass, to nag, to annoy.

[UK]M. Collins Keepers of Truth 51: He had a wife and kid who were busting his ass over money, wanting it all.
[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] He handed me a beer first up and clinked bottles with me. Second up he starting busting my ass as best he could.

3. (US) to arrest.

[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 152: We give her five minutes, come back here and bust her ass if she’s not gone.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 189: ‘You the vice squad?’ ‘We was the vice squad we’d a busted your ass a month ago, Flameout.’.
[US]R. Price Clockers 7: Soon they see anybody with that, they [...] buh-bust your ass.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 162: I had a minimal panic seizure. G-men in closets. SWAT team swooping down and busting my ass.

4. (US) to sodomize.

[US]N. Kelley ‘The Code’ in Brooklyn Noir 177: I especially enjoy she-males busting a nigga’s ass.

5. (Aus./US) to exhaust oneself working.

R.G. Barrett ‘Of Big Wets’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] Those tomatoes. Some farmer’s probably busted his arse to grow those.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 62: Which beat the hell out of busting his ass working on the tuna boats.
bust someone’s horns (v.)

(US) to goad, to annoy someone.

[US]D. Smith Steely Blue 326: You can bust my horns if you want to, but don’t embarrass the badge, you know. Because I’ll have to take a poke at you.
bust someone up (v.)

to beat someone up, to hurt someone in a fight.

[Aus] in K. Gilbert Living Black 128: She busted him up when he was off work.
bust up

see separate entries.

In exclamations

bust a frog!

(Cockney) a mild excl.

[UK]Marvel 15 Oct. 1: Here, bust a frog, Joe, lend me a hand.
West Briton 25 Dec. 8/5: ‘Bust a frog!’ says me ’usband.
bust it! (also bust it all!)

1. an excl. of annoyance, frustration.

[UK]Bradford Obs. 4 Nov. 4/1: It’s the most back’ard season, bust it, as ever I knowed. It was always understood that when the leaves fell off the trees the sandbags would sell, but, bust ’em, it ain’t so this ’ear.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Commercial Education’ in Punch 26 Sept. in P. Marks (2006) 125: Oh, bust it, dear boy, it’s too bad!
[UK]Sporting Times 22 Mar. 1/2: ‘Bust it all!’ he growled; ‘second again.’.
[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 27: Bust it, I don’t go on the spree every day!
[UK]Marvel 21 Aug. 7: ‘Bust it!’ exclaimed Billy indignantly. ‘Is this all the thanks I get for protecting you from the demon.’.
[UK]C. Stead Seven Poor Men of Sydney 115: Bust it! I clean forgot it.
[UK]E. Raymond Child of Norman’s End (1967) 23: ‘Oh bust it!’ muttered Cynthia, beginning to sulk.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 24/1: bust it! dash it!; eg ‘I almost had it that time. Oh bust it!’ NZ and Brit., early C20.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 40: bust! Exclamation, usually of disgust. Often bust it!, as my grandmother used to say when she dropped her crochet stitch and did not want to say anything stronger such as ‘Bugger it!’ From early C20.

2. (US, also bust it up!) be quiet!

[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 36: Bust it up, old-timer.
bust me! (also bustmy!)

a mild oath; an excl. of annoyance, frustration.

[US]W. Valentine Budget of Wit & Humour 178: I unintend to die doleful. If I don’t, bust me.
[UK]Dickens (1970) Tale of Two Cities 45: Bust me if I don’t think he’d been a drinking!
[UK]J. Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 103: Bust me if I wouldn’t drown myself.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Jul. 12/2: ‘By thunder, Jim! they goes in hot fur the pastoral interests here. Bust me, if they don’t wire fence th’ back-blocks of their wimin!’.
[US]F. Norris Moran of the Lady Letty 13: Bust me, if y’ a’n’t squiffy, old man.
[UK]Sporting Times 13 Jan. 1/4: ‘You think you know a bloomin’ lot, don’t yer?’ carped the feminine voice. ‘Well, bustmy, and so I ought to.’.
[UK]Marvel III:58 16: ‘Bust me, guv’nor,’ he blurted.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Nov. 44/1: I sidles over to the free-lunch table an’ exercises me teeth some. When I drifts back to the bar again, bust me, if there ain’t a cove tossin’ off me pot.
bust my . . . !

an excl. of surprise or annoyance, ext. by a pertinent n.

[US]R. Carlton New Purchase II 188: Well, bust my rifle, Carltin, if I wa’rn’t most teetotally and sentimentally wrong.
[US]A. Trumble Mysteries of N.Y. 19: Well, bust my bones if I didn’t drive her to twenty-three different places.
[Aus]Portland Guardian 5 May 4/2: Bust me bricks if she didn’t kep him fed on swagger lunches.
[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 572: bust my biler, interj. An exclamation of simple surprise. ‘Well, bust my biler! just look at him.’.
[US]P. Kyne Cappy Ricks 130: ‘Bust my bob-stay!’ he murmured.
bust this!

(orig. US black) now look here! pay attention!

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov.
[US]Masters of Ceremony ‘Cracked Out’ 🎵 Bust this, upstairs I got a Sony TV.
[US]P. Atoon Rap Dict. 🌐 bust this (interj) Pay attention. – ‘But bust this!’ – Ice-T (Bitches 2 [1991]).
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 157: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Sho nuff. Bust this. Ass out. Break out. Bug out. Kick it.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

bust-down (n.)

see separate entry.

busthead (n.) (also busshead)

1. (US) strong whisky, or gin, esp. when illegally distilled; also attrib.

[US]Yankee Notions 6-7 362: ‘Busthead’ whisky is Phelim's especial failing. He will try it, buy it, lie by it, lie for it, but have it he will.
[US]‘Edmund Kirke’ Down in Tennessee 175: ‘Where are you going with that big canteen?’ ‘Ter git some bust-head, giniral’.
[UK]G.A. Sala My Diary in America II 394: ‘Bust-head’ whisky, and ‘red-eye’ rum.
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms (4th edn) 357: Liquor [...] Bust Head.
Uniontown Press 26 Mar. 3/2: The merchants must supply you with anything from a pocket saw mill to bust-head liquor [DA].
[US]H. Kephart Our Southern Highlanders (1922) 137: All the moonshine whiskey used to be pure [...] but every blockader knows how to adulterate. [...] Such decoctions are known in the mountains by the expressive terms ‘pop-skull,’ ‘bust head,’ ‘bumblings’.
[US]Lonnie Johnson ‘Tin Can Alley Blues’ 🎵 I was down in tin can alley, / Loaded down with that bust-head gin.
[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 568: It is to those days before the Civil War that we owe many of the colorful American terms for strong drink, still current, e.g., [...] coffin-varnish, bust-head, stagger-soup, tonsil-paint, squirrel-whiskey and so on.
[US] ‘More Tennessee Expressions’ in AS XVI:1 Feb. 447/2: old bust head. Poor quality of liquor. ‘He drinks old bust head.’.
[US]F.C. Brown North Carolina Folklore 1 524: Buss-head [...] Illicit whiskey .
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 10: Ah reckon he won’t claim me ’count of a half-pin of busthead.
[US]in DARE I 481/1: (Bad liquor) Busthead; [...] (Illegally made whiskey) Busthead.
Foxfire Book 317: ‘Busthead’ and ‘popskull’ are names applied to whiskey which produces violent headaches due to various elements which have not been removed during the stilling process [DARE].
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 181: You fuckers grab for the $3.98 busthead and pass up all the elegant booze.

2. (US tramp) a drunk.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
bustskull (n.) (also popskull, swell-head, swell-skull)

(US) strong whisky, esp. when illegally distilled; also attrib.

[US] in B.I. Wiley They Who Fought Here (1959) 192: ‘Bust-Skull,’ ‘Tanglefoot,’ ‘Nockum Stiff,’ and ‘Old Red Eye’.
[US]G.W. Harris ‘Sut Lovingood’s Hog Ride’ Nashville Daily Press and Times III Sept. in Inge (1967) 158: That wer a pint flask of swell hed whisky in wun pockit.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 233: She fotch a glass bottil ove swell-skull whiskey outen the three-cornered cupboard.
[US]Hartford Herald (KY) 17 Mar. 3/3: He keeps no fusil oil, bust skull, sixty yards, rifle whisky, but he has the pure article.
[US]H. Kephart Our Southern Highlanders (1922) 137: All the moonshine whiskey used to be pure [...] but every blockader knows how to adulterate. [...] Such decoctions are known in the mountains by the expressive terms ‘pop-skull,’ ‘bust head,’ ‘bumblings’.
[US]Wilson Coll. n.p.: Bust-skull [...] Illicit, and usually, strong whiskey [DARE].
Foxfire Book 317: ‘Busthead’ and ‘popskull’ are names applied to whiskey which produces violent headaches due to various elements which have not been removed during the stilling process [DARE].

In phrases

bust a grape (v.)

see separate entry.

bust a gusset (v.) [SE; the straining so hard that the seams of one’s clothes split]

(US) to break down with laughter, to lose control or temper, to make a superlative effort.

[US]Semi-Wkly Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) 23 Feb. 50/8: She’s [...] going to be a success or bust a gusset tring.
[US]Dly News (Huntingdon, PA) 20 June 4/3: The old timers aren’t going to like this but Fearless Friday is going to bust a gusset today if such argumentative ancients [...] keep sounding off about the ‘good old days’.
[US]Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, NY) 16 Dec. 10/1: Head waiters bust a gusset when a cabinet officer comes into the joint.
[US]Tribune (Scranton, PA) 12 Apr. 11/6: When [TV] documentaries set out to prove a point they’ll bust a gusset to make it sound convincing .
G. Edwin Lint Tournament 🌐 Hey, guys, take it easy. You’re going to bust a gusset if you keep that up.
S. Francis ‘JLA/Titans Invasion’ in Fanzing 26 Sept. 🌐 ‘Robin looked like he was gonna bust a gusset, as my Dad would say,’ Superman said.
bust loose (v.) (US)

1. to break free of constraints.

[UK]Hereford Times 3 May 6/3: [from Amer. Humour] I know’d thar was but one chance, and that was to go clean thro’ [i.e. an obstruction of logs); so I busted loose and set my paddles to goin’ mightily .
[US]Eve. Star (DC) 17 Dec. 12/4: Police precincts of the city [...] were expected to round up a passel of wild bulls that had ‘busted loose,’ in the terms of the professional bull driver.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 58: I don’t care whether you bust loose or not.
[US](con. 1917–18) C. MacArthur War Bugs 193: The front was lousy with men. Every wood [...] bulged with U.S. citizens, itching to bust loose.
[US]E. Caldwell Tobacco Road (1958) 14: Some of these days He’ll bust loose with a heap of bounty and all us poor folks will have all we want to eat.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 772: Some day, he, Studs Lonigan, was going to bust loose like hell on wheels.
[UK]Peters & Sklar Stevedore II iii: M’m! Hell sho’ gwine bust loose now.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 141: The minute a hot jazzman busted loose, all the guys who were resting would start to clap their hands.
[UK]I. Fleming Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 154: All hell’s going to bust loose when you get to the bottom of that old mine.
[US]T. Wolfe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1969) 179: They were capable of busting loose into carnage at any moment.
[US]K-9 Corp. ‘Dog Talk’ 🎵 I make plenty of juice, when I’m busting loose / I get funky with my rhymes like Mother Goose.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 153: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Groovin. To the beat. On the one. I feel like bustin loose!

2. to commence, to start happening.

[US]D. Hammett ‘The Gutting of Couffignal’ Story Omnibus (1966) 19: When this thing busted loose I had to hide.

3. to escape from an institution.

[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 🌐 n.p.: ‘Say, how did you come to bust loose?’ said Al, turning his head towards Andrews.
bust one’s buttons (v.) (also pop one’s buttons) [SE; the real or fig. bursting out of one’s clothing]

1. (US) to strain oneself physically or emotionally.

[US] in DARE.
[US] oral testimony in Lighter HDAS I.

2. to swell with pride.

[US] in DARE.
[US]O’Day & Eells High Times Hard Times 21: I was so proud I almost popped my buttons.
[US]J. Stahl OG Dad 88: I actually heard my pride ’n’ joy fart for the first time [...] I’m bustin’ my buttons!
bust one’s vest (v.) [the image of a chest swelling]

(US black) to be generous, to display one’s munificence.

[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 105: You see I’m out West, knocking my mess, busting my vest on the simple chicks and wealthy hicks.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 217: Aw, come on and bust your vest, what you goin’ to make out of sportin’ life?
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 482: bust your vest : To swell with pride. That preacher’s busting his vest.
bust open (v.)

(US) to distress, to make unhappy.

[US]O. Strange Sudden 12: Yu busted that fella wide open, an’ his bronc’ll be throwin’ gravel plenty-industrious just now.
bust out

see separate entries.

bust up

see separate entries.