a person who breaks up something:
crime busters.
something that is very big or unusual for its kind.
a loud, uproarious reveler.
a frolic; spree.
(initial capital letter) (used as a familiar term of address to a man or boy who is an object to the speaker’s annoyance or anger):
Look, Buster, you’re standing in my way!
a male given name.

to burst.
to go bankrupt.
to collapse from the strain of making a supreme effort:
She was determined to make straight A’s or bust.


Draw Poker. to fail to make a flush or straight by one card.
Blackjack. to draw cards exceeding the count of 21.


to burst.
to bankrupt; ruin financially.

to demote, especially in military rank or grade:
He was busted from sergeant to private three times.
to tame; break:
to bust a bronco.

to place under arrest:
The gang was busted and put away on narcotics charges.
to subject to a police raid:
The bar has been busted three times for selling drinks to minors.


to hit.
to break; fracture:
She fell and busted her arm.

a failure.
Informal. a hit; sock; punch:
He got a bust in the nose before he could put up his hands.
a sudden decline in the economic conditions of a country, marked by an extreme drop in stock-market prices, business activity, and employment; depression.

an arrest.
a police raid.

Informal. a drinking spree; binge.

a very weak hand.
Bridge. a hand lacking the potential to take a single trick.

Informal. bankrupt; broke.
bust up, Informal.

to break up; separate:
Sam and his wife busted up a year ago.
to damage or destroy:
Soldiers got in a fight and busted up the bar.

bust ass, Slang: Vulgar. to fight with the fists; strike or thrash another.
bust on, Slang.

to attack physically; beat up.
to criticize or reprimand harshly.
to make fun of or laugh at; mock.
to inform on.

bust one’s ass, Slang: Vulgar. to make an extreme effort; exert oneself.
Contemporary Examples

Nothing Says I Love You Like Data The Daily Beast December 7, 2014
Can This Dog Solve the Black Dahlia Homicide? Christine Pelisek February 2, 2013
The Ridiculousness of Father’s Day P. J. O’Rourke June 14, 2014
Tony Hale Talks Return of ‘Veep,’ ‘Arrested Development’ & Being Weird Kevin Fallon April 10, 2013
Why I Hate The Beach P. J. O’Rourke July 26, 2014

Historical Examples

Motor Boat Boys Down the Danube Louis Arundel
Goodbye, Dead Man! Tom W. Harris
The Adventures of Buster Bear Thornton W. Burgess
The Adventures of Buster Bear Thornton W. Burgess
Motor Boat Boys Down the Danube Louis Arundel

noun (slang)
(in combination) a person or thing destroying something as specified: dambuster
(US & Canadian) a term of address for a boy or man
(US & Canadian) a person who breaks horses
(mainly US & Canadian) a spree, esp a drinking bout
the chest of a human being, esp a woman’s bosom
a sculpture of the head, shoulders, and upper chest of a person
verb busts, busting, busted, bust
to burst or break
to make or become bankrupt
(transitive) (of the police) to raid, search, or arrest: the girl was busted for drugs
(transitive) (US & Canadian) to demote, esp in military rank
(transitive) (US & Canadian) to break or tame (a horse, etc)
(transitive) (mainly US) to punch; hit
bust a gut, See gut (sense 9)
a raid, search, or arrest by the police
(mainly US) a punch; hit
(US & Canadian) a failure, esp a financial one; bankruptcy
a drunken party
go bust, to become bankrupt

A splendid person, esp a robust one; beaut, corker: He was a buster nigh as big as his Mammy (1840s+)
(also Buster) Man; fellow; guy, brother •Used in direct address with a somewhat hostile tone: Down the hall to the back room, buster (1860s+)

Out of funds; destitute; broke (1840s+)
A police raid: One whiff of marijuana and we get a bust (1930s+)
An arrest; collar: Beating a Bust: Two Views (1918+)
That one bust decked me
A failure; fiasco: My try for her sweet favors was a total bust (1840s+)
A person who fails; loser, nonstarter: At baseball I was a risible bust (1920s+)
A spree; drinking bout: took his paycheck and went on a bust (1840+)

To break: I busted my nose (1806+)
o disperse or chase a rival street gang (1950s+ Street gang)
To reduce in rank; demote: He got busted from buck sergeant to buck private (late 1800s+ Army)
To tame a wild horse for riding: Two rides will usually bust a bronco so that the average cow-puncher can use him (1890s+ Cowboys)
o break open a safe, vault, etc; also, burglarize a place (1890s+ Underworld)
: I’ve been busted, bring bail
To catch someone in an illegal or immoral act (1950s+ Teenagers)
To hit someone: She busted me in the kishkes (1808+)
To fail an examination or course; flunk •The standard form burst is found in the 1850s: I miserably busted the econ final (1900+ College students)

bust a gut
bust one’s ass


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Disclaimer: Buster definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.