Main definitions of bust in English

: bust1bust2

bust1

noun

  • 1A woman's chest as measured around her breasts.

    ‘a 36-inch bust’
    • ‘While tags on Dunnes Stores' garments usually contain the bust, waist or hip measurements, most of the dimensions had to be gleaned from sizing charts on various retailers' websites.’
    • ‘You can order something, buy it, and then it comes, and it's 50 times better than you thought it ever was, or it could be a big bust.’
    • ‘The study, published today in the British Medical Journal, used data included in the magazine covering height, weight and measurements for bust, waist and hip size.’
    • ‘A run on women's dresses at the local clothes shop - sizes 8 and 10, mostly, so I heard, big busts.’
    • ‘Measure yourself first with a tape measure, your bust, waist, and hips, over your undergarments.’
    • ‘For 25% of volunteers there was an average inch loss of up to 1 inch from the torso measurements including the bust, waist and hips.’
    • ‘Include your dress size, bust or chest size and shoe size.’
    • ‘She revealed her new 34JJ bust last Saturday on Cosmetic Surgery Live, shown on Five.’
    • ‘Imagine you completely mess up her measurements and overestimate her bust or waist?’
    • ‘So, if your ribcage measures 32 inches, your bust will be a 36.’
    • ‘And she measured me - bust, waist, hips, inseam.’
    • ‘‘I'm only a 32B so having a bigger bust would make me feel happier in my clothes,’ she said.’
    chest, bosom, breasts
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A woman's breasts, especially considered in terms of their size.
      ‘a woman with big hips and a big bust’
      • ‘But, I can't wear dresses with a deep V-neck or a seam under the bust because I have no chest!’
      • ‘Due to increased bust and nipple size, I removed them at the end of my first trimester.’
      • ‘The 19-year-old from Withington is waiting to finish university before having a bust enhancement.’
      • ‘We may be dismayed that a 15-year-old feels her sense of worth rests on the size of her bust, but haven't 15-year-old girls always felt like this?’
      • ‘It's a particularly good shape to wear if you have a bigger bust.’
      • ‘A note about the boys at our school, they like girls with big busts more than girls who don't have one at all.’
      • ‘Gabe sat up rigidly and attempted to help Sara through a frame that was about two sizes too small for someone with as impressive of a bust as her.’
      • ‘She finally chose a cheetah top that fit closely and showed off her small stomach and made her bust look bigger.’
      • ‘‘She's around here somewhere,’ he replied, looking over to a horribly dressed girl with a big bust.’
      • ‘From a lift in the bust to a trimmer behind, some of this plus size sexy lingerie is a work of art and most of the fabrics on today's market are truly effective and extremely comfortable.’
      • ‘She will not wear an outfit unless her bust is busting out and over, even in the dead of winter.’
      • ‘We are all beautiful in our own way and don't even realise it, you don't have to be thin with big busts to make it in the world or even just to feel good.’
      • ‘The beautiful actress had her bust size reduced from a massive 34DD to a 34D because she was sick of men leering over them.’
      • ‘It was a little big around the bust but looked rather nice on me.’
      • ‘Secondly, to get your correct cup measurement: With your bra on, measure loosely around the fullest part of your bust.’
      • ‘If your bust measurement is a full size larger or smaller than the pattern, blend the adjustment line from the waistline to the bustline of the next size.’
      • ‘It was a beautiful dress with a band of deep purple lining where the bust should end.’
      • ‘For dresses, blouses, tops, vests, jackets and coats choose the pattern size by the bust or upper-bust measurement.’
      • ‘I wasn't a fitness model, and I didn't have a big bust.’
      • ‘But the products are expected to be snapped up by even more women keen to increase the size of their bust.’
  • 2A sculpture of a person's head, shoulders, and chest.

    • ‘One is of a pair of figures from the shoulders up, looking at two sculpted busts that are, in shape and composition, an exact repetition of themselves.’
    • ‘Next she proceeds to the major works of art like sculpted statues and busts that have been identified as this woman and finally to a briefer look at minor artworks such as cameos.’
    • ‘He became, after Nollekens, the most successful sculptor of portrait busts in England.’
    • ‘The monumental bust, The Last Roman, looks on accusingly.’
    • ‘Sculptures, moulds, busts, dentures, imprints and masks of Washington's face and body will be scanned with lasers.’
    • ‘More than 70 marble, bronze, terracotta and plaster busts and life-size sculptures are on display together for the first time in nearly two centuries.’
    • ‘One can discern in the mirror other objects in the room such an end table, a sculpted bust, an oil lamp, an oval portrait and a grandfather clock.’
    • ‘The Brock Prize consists of $40,000 cash and a sculpted bust of Sequoyah, the only person known to have created an alphabet.’
    • ‘But I knew they existed, all right - and not just plaques and statues but even a bust in Westminster Abbey.’
    • ‘His architectural sculpture and terra-cotta portrait busts of leading citizens were much admired in their day.’
    • ‘I was concentrating on a sculpted bust that had caught my eye, a familiar one, worked by a familiar hand.’
    • ‘The room was decorated with fine eighteenth century art, sculptures and busts of previous political figures.’
    • ‘The bust was sculpted by internationally-renowned figurative artist Ian Walters.’
    • ‘Little is known of the obscure sculptor who executed the bust.’
    • ‘The busts feel sculptural and classical; the painting seems like an homage to a monumental past.’
    • ‘Although he made some figures in his earlier idiom, his later sculptures were mainly portrait busts.’
    • ‘It was this picture that formed the basis for American sculptor Paul Granlund's busts of Ramanujan, created in 1987 for the Ramanujan Centennial Year.’
    • ‘Now the sculptor who made the bust is working on a statue of Nelson Mandela based on that visit to Bedford.’
    • ‘Noble sentiment orchestrates the canvas, which was executed for the subject of the sculpted bust on the pedestal, Dr. Upton Scott.’
    • ‘Casters make commemorative or memorial busts and figures specially ordered and designed by clients.’
    sculpture, carving, effigy, three-dimensional representation
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century (denoting the upper part or torso of a large sculpture): from French buste, from Italian busto, from Latin bustum tomb, sepulchral monument.

Pronunciation:

bust

/bʌst/

Main definitions of bust in English

: bust1bust2

bust2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • 1Break, split, or burst.

    ‘they bust the tunnel wide open’
    figurative ‘the film bust every box office record’
    [no object] ‘the colour control had bust’
    • ‘Only broken furniture, busted doorways, and bloodstains.’
    • ‘Their shows suck, their toys bust too easily and games nowadays just don't have the same imagination.’
    • ‘The bottle busted and up burst a huge puff of milky white smoke.’
    • ‘An emphatic ‘no,’ we discover - busting a generic stereotype wide open.’
    • ‘The new techniques combine the use of clot busting drugs with clot macerating devices to break up the clot in the leg.’
    • ‘Reich can take some of the credit for busting the stranglehold on the 20th century of atonal music, which he calls a red herring; he describes listening to such work as akin to taking a bitter pill.’
    • ‘Then one night, a soldier busts my front door in, drunk from the victory parties.’
    • ‘Council house rents in Rotherham are to rise by an average of 5.5 per cent - an inflation busting increase on the heels of an 8.3 per cent rise last year.’
    • ‘Already he's five ahead of where the Cardinals man was when he busted Babe Ruth's 34-year record.’
    • ‘You skip around the back and quietly encourage the locks to take a break, while I bust the front door lock.’
    • ‘For those who cannot afford the machines, Mr Saville recommended practical allergy busting solutions like vacuuming mattresses, pillow covers and sheets to kill the dust mites.’
    • ‘Senior officers from across the authority have now been asked to find more than £3 million of savings to avoid busting the budget and redundancies are expected.’
    • ‘At least once a week, Cory Schlesinger must have his face mask replaced because he either snaps the posts or busts the welds.’
    • ‘He didn't waste time trying to pick the lock, he busted the door in one burst of adrenalin.’
    • ‘I fell, and broke my leg in two places, and completely busted my wrist.’
    • ‘I've split my lip and busted my eyebrow, but luckily I haven't broken any bones.’
    • ‘One myth I would like to bust is that PR is a measure of a web site.’
    • ‘When this drug comes across a clot or a fat deposit it busts it clean away.’
    • ‘They would need to bust the enemy lines wide open.’
    • ‘A sport where the record busting efforts of yesteryear are now are much fewer and farther between, with more people running slower or even jumping or throwing less than they used to?’
    break, crack, snap, fracture, shatter, smash, smash to smithereens, fragment, splinter
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object](of a group or couple) separate, typically after a quarrel.
      ‘now they've bust up, she won't inherit the house’
      • ‘Once, in the Phillips neighborhood, Shiz says, he was hanging out and smoking pot in a friend's backyard when cops busted up the gathering and encouraged a rookie to beat him up.’
      • ‘There were all kinds of dances that got busted up by the police, but I'd have to say that getting married at Sugar Minott's Youth Promotion studios was quite memorable.’
      • ‘Another chance to bust up the happy couple is thrown away.’
      • ‘One wonders how an ad might read when the relationship inevitably busts up.’
      • ‘No, we don't get to see anybody go on an LSD trip, and no, the Hell's Angels don't arrive to bust up the party, but the play is just as, if not more, entertaining all the same.’
      • ‘She looked quite good, which is nice as her and her partner of many years busted up recently after a succession of late night screaming matches that clearly penetrated the floor/ceiling separating our respective flats.’
      • ‘Spain announced that it had busted up and arrested members of a terrorist group that recruited young Muslim men in Europe to go as fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq.’
      • ‘I got a big head and couldn't handle it, then my marriage busted up and I almost went nuts.’
      • ‘They have seized companies run by mobsters in the drywall, window-replacement, and painting industries to bust up cartels.’
      • ‘All three, moreover, are certain that Eliska is just after mom's dough, so they conspire to bust up the couple, eventually and alarmingly concluding that one of them should bed mom's girlfriend.’
      • ‘We show you how to keep your pal's prying eyes from your paper… without busting up the friendship.’
    2. 1.2Violently disrupt.
      ‘men hired to bust up union rallies’
      • ‘The system hummed along for the best part of 100 years delivering practical outcomes with bipartisan support until the neo-conservative ethos of union busting was imported into this country.’
      • ‘The company is refusing to bargain in good faith with the union and trying to bust it by preventing a first contract.’
      • ‘Last week the company announced that managers would be called on to drive buses, with a free service offered in an attempt to bust the strike.’
      • ‘It's certainly ironic that the ultimate union-buster has been ambushed by another powerful exercise in union busting, albeit one more subtly executed without dogs and balaclavas.’
      • ‘The memo tries to make inspectors, in effect, the ‘eyes and ears’ of the government's strike and solidarity busting operation.’
      • ‘The government should revise its definition of anti-social behaviour and target crimes such as war, racism, corporate greed, environmental abuse, union busting, civil rights abuses, and arms dealing.’
      • ‘Australian government incites company action to bust steel strike’
      • ‘And are there factions within business who don't embrace the union busting agenda that we can work with constructively?’
      • ‘By making it hard for us to unionize these workers, they are showing that they want to bust the union.’
      • ‘They are clearly seeking to bust the unions in a state that is already less than 4 percent unionized.’
      • ‘We are sending a loud and clear message: ‘Union busting no way!’’
      • ‘The only way to bust a union is to lie, distort, manipulate, threaten, and always, always attack.’
      • ‘By federalizing the workforce, the government was also, in effect, busting those unions and tearing up their newly won contracts.’
      • ‘But even if it doubles and it's every five years you have still got the question of what happens if the factory tries to bust the union between the five-year period.’
      • ‘They have used globalization of the economy to bust unions, to keep wages low, to keep benefits low, and that's had an impact on a lot of workers.’
      • ‘They are also protesting the company's union busting tactics.’
    3. 1.3North American Strike violently.
      ‘Tamara bust him in the eye’
      • ‘Caleb twisted himself around once more and kicked Riley in the face, slipping open his lips and busting his nose, causing blood to spill forth from each orifice.’
      • ‘He then began hitting himself, and busted himself open hardway.’
      • ‘I saw him literally bust one guy in half with shots to the body.’
      • ‘Passport control officers entered the train, and immediately started busting the chops of everyone in our cabin.’
      • ‘Talk then shifted to the big chair shot he took from Credible that busted him open pretty bad, leaving a big dent in his head.’
      • ‘I don't remember sitting down. Unfortunately, my blankets protect me and I do not bust my head open on the bed post.’
      • ‘He then pounded Eddie some more busting him open and left in the low rider.’
      • ‘Gabrielle felt tears of pain well up in her eyes as her lip was busted open.’
      • ‘It bothered him a great deal that I would want to be with Marcus more then him and he made it a game to taunt at me about my past until I didn't know whether to burst into tears or bust his nose.’
      • ‘I was so angry, I could have busted his knee cap, broken his jaw, and broken his arms, but I controlled myself.’
      • ‘Someone busted his forehead open with a car stereo; another rioter tried to slice his ear off.’
      • ‘His nose had dried blood all over it, and his lips were busted open.’
      • ‘Maybe I busted my lip open last night when I collapsed on the floor.’
      • ‘He needs some nurturing as he got in a fight at work last night and now has a smashed nose and busted up lip.’
    4. 1.4[no object]Escape.
      ‘she busted out of prison’
      • ‘A serial bank robber busts out of prison, with a federal cop as an accidental hostage.’
      • ‘A soldier busts out of an outpost and you gun him down before he can do the same to you.’
      • ‘In the last few years, as they did in the late '60s and '80s, comics have once again busted out of their relegated spot in the cultural margins.’
      • ‘I think it's so wonderful that this is what's busting out.’
      • ‘Most certainly, this dainty little madam busted out of garden cultivation to spread fast and loose.’
      • ‘We're talking about you busting out of habitual patterns, bailing on projects that have lost their luster.’
      • ‘Can you bust out of a jail cell with dynamite?’
      • ‘So I've decided that if I ever go to jail, I am definitely busting out!’
      • ‘Later in 1916 he busts out of a German PoW camp.’
      • ‘With the rainy season soon about to be busting out all over, however, he is likely to have other, equally urgent, priorities thrust upon him.’
      • ‘Every baby I would swaddle would end up busting out of his bundle and crying his damn little head off, limbs flailing and clawing at the air.’
      • ‘‘My chest was busting out of my shirt when I teed off on that first hole at the Solheim Cup because it's such a great thrill to represent your country,’ she claimed.’
      • ‘I want to lose this covering of fat and see some muscle busting out!’
    5. 1.5[no object](in blackjack and similar card games) exceed the score of 21, so losing one's stake.
      • ‘Solid citizens with stiffs don't lose any worse if a 17 is improved, and there seems to be a good chance that the dealer, drawing, will bust and pay everyone.’
      • ‘Note that if the player busts he loses, even if the dealer also busts (therefore Blackjack favors the dealer).’
      • ‘If you're playing first base and you bust or get a Blackjack, don't wait for the other hands to be completed to have a completed count.’
      • ‘Seems staying pat and not busting, especially with a 16 against a seven, is the smarter play.’
      • ‘Won all four hands when the dealer busted after I split a pair of 8s, resplit and resplit again.’
  • 2North American (of the police) raid or search (premises where illegal activity is suspected)

    ‘my flat got busted’
    • ‘Presumably the local sausage pusher whom they buy from keeps getting busted by the police for selling sausages to children, or something.’
    • ‘When police busted the home they found much of the operation had been taken down.’
    • ‘Armed police have busted two drug houses just metres from two Bay school playgrounds - seizing 200 cannabis plants and making five arrests.’
    • ‘The Club was busted by police in the early '80s, something which heralded its demise.’
    • ‘He was on the run after Singapore police busted an earlier plot to bomb Western embassies there.’
    • ‘This was an unusual investigation because most meth labs aren't busted by good police work.’
    • ‘In August 2001, the Delhi Police busted an international illegal exchange in Jasola Vihar.’
    • ‘After watching seven performers perform, police busted a sex show in North Pattaya, arresting all seven performers and the venue's manager.’
    • ‘Whether the police actually busted the premises, remains unknown.’
    • ‘A few months ago, the cops busted an illegal numbers operation - the local Mafia's preferred racket these days - a few miles up the street from Vesuvio's.’
    • ‘Immigration police last week busted an international drug ring operating out of Naklua, arresting five people, two Thais and three Malaysians.’
    • ‘We have heard that the first clan-labs were busted by the police in about 1998.’
    • ‘If he isn't, why do the police keep busting his home?’
    • ‘On February 10, 2000, Montreal police busted the club.’
    • ‘Back in 1996 we saw the first clandestine P laboratory busted by the police.’
    • ‘McCloy's short, but fascinating piece documents the events of one fateful night when a gig is busted by the police.’
    • ‘It seems unbelievable to Shafer that there could be dozens of active stash houses without the police busting them all.’
    • ‘She was later released, then arrested again (along with a dozen others) when police busted a house orgy a week later.’
    • ‘How much advance fee loan scams take in is not known - one London-based scheme that police busted last year may have netted millions over several years.’
    • ‘The site was apparently part of a organisation busted by police.’
    raid, search, make a search of, swoop on, make a raid on
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Arrest.
      ‘two roadies were busted for drugs’
      • ‘A couple of employees in the postal dept. have already been busted for taking out credit cards in student and faculty names.’
      • ‘A respected art dealer is busted for selling a Cheyenne war bonnet.’
      • ‘DEA agents sometimes pose as chemical salesmen in order to bust suspected ecstasy cooks.’
      • ‘He was busted for using fake checks to buy pizzas, but they knew if they could just identify him, he'd be good for a lot more crime across the country.’
      • ‘Inspector Minks, who busted him at an illegal rave for drugs possession, has other ideas.’
      • ‘Remember when we got busted by the Park Ranger for putting our raft in the retention pond?’
      • ‘The film is based on the story of a drug dealer, who's busted by the cops early in the film for having a couch full of illegal substances.’
      • ‘Not testing is cheaper and easier than testing, and your athletes are much less likely to be busted for doping.’
      • ‘A few weeks ago, he was busted for possession of marijuana at school.’
      • ‘He was busted for smuggling the stuff in January 2000.’
      • ‘Do you want to be busted for drugs by a dog that isn't properly trained?’
      • ‘They are undercover police officers trying to bust drug smugglers.’
      • ‘In December, 1999, Gaffney was busted for stealing some cash and a gold watch.’
      • ‘Around that time, he was busted for possession of marijuana and spent two years in prison.’
      • ‘One third of Canadians arrested abroad were busted for drugs, making it the most commonly prosecuted offence.’
      • ‘The police busted them for squatting within a fortnight.’
      • ‘His parents cut him off financially when he told them he'd been busted for drugs.’
      • ‘They had seen sketchy reports in that morning's newspapers of a musician being busted for possession of drugs.’
      • ‘Employees at a morgue in India have been busted for allowing local traders to store fish (meant for consumption) in among their dead bodies.’
    2. 2.2Be caught in the act of doing something wrong.
      ‘I sneaked up on them and told them they were busted’
    3. 2.3US Reduce (a soldier) to a lower rank; demote.
      ‘he was busted to private’
      • ‘That soldier had already been busted to El and was on the short list for an administrative discharge.’
      • ‘He gets busted down to the ranks for accidentally winging a hostage.’
      • ‘Now, even though no one was hurt, there was talk of busting him down to private.’
      • ‘Eastwood plays ex-Lieutenant Kelly, who was busted down to private as a scapegoat for a failed mission.’
      • ‘Billy has observed this and gets busted in rank for slugging Capt. Hanks at a formal ball one night.’
      • ‘First you go get yourself a silver star, then you get busted to private.’

noun

informal
  • 1A period of economic difficulty or depression.

    ‘the boom was followed by the present bust’
    • ‘From Bangkok to Boston, it is under close global focus as pundits search for signs of the next big bust.’
    • ‘But as some economists have pointed out: the longer the boom, the bigger the bust.’
    • ‘Consequently, this leads to a fall in real output, i.e., to an economic bust.’
    • ‘Economic cycles follow a pattern; the most basic pattern is boom, bust, boom, bust.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the French and the Dutch probably haven't done done us Yanks any big favor, since the eventual bust is likely to be proportional to the size of the bubble.’
    • ‘More recently we have relied on consumer spending to prop up the economy during the bust.’
    • ‘The bust remained a bust, and no amount of money magic could restart the boom.’
    • ‘It is a cynical camouflage for problems caused by the boom and bust rhythm of capitalism, and the bosses' insistence that profits come before people.’
    • ‘Your correspondent is old enough to have actually participated in the economic booms and busts of the last 40 odd years, housing included.’
    • ‘It flames it, it makes the bigger booms and busts.’
    • ‘We are not in recovery; it is nothing more than a little boom that ultimately will turn into a bigger bust.’
    • ‘Cold Wars, Hot Wars, economic booms and busts, the rapacious scramble for resources: we hear the warnings of countries, the shouts of other countries in greedy triumph.’
    • ‘This pool of finance has over the years been increasingly funneled into speculative channels, fueling refashioned booms and busts around the globe.’
    • ‘And how bad would the tech bust have been if the bubble hadn't been so big?’
    • ‘Chinese authorities, however, believe that they can stage an orderly deflation of the bubble and thereby prevent an economic bust.’
    • ‘Big bucks can make for a big bang, but they can all to easily lead to a big bust.’
    • ‘It's only common sense to pay off our debts before the next big bust.’
    • ‘And the bust is a period of stagnation and destruction.’
    • ‘As we explain on page 8, what has happened is a classic example of the boom to bust cycle built into capitalism.’
    • ‘Likewise recessions or economic busts are set in motion if people suddenly change their psychology and stop spending.’
  • 2A raid or arrest by the police.

    ‘a drug bust’
    • ‘When a cornered drug dealer aims his pistol at the officers during a bust, they return fire, killing him instantly.’
    • ‘A suspected drug dealer was arrested during a dawn raid on his house, the latest in a series of weekly busts by Merton police.’
    • ‘The bust was made after police received a tip from the public.’
    • ‘The Tasty Bust Reunion also features ten years since the famous police bust in Melbourne.’
    • ‘And isn't it true that some of the biggest busts have related to people who exchanged this type of material via email or through websites?’
    • ‘The police bust that scuppered the alleged plans followed a tip-off from a member of the public at about 8pm on Monday.’
    • ‘How to fight back against a bad bust or police harassment was something that he and fellow musicians had been discussing for years.’
    • ‘During the bust, police seized three kilograms of cocaine having an estimated street value of $255,000.’
    • ‘In addition to last April's bust, Hengchun police said last summer they also arrested drug users at Baishawan, a secluded beach they believe to be a favorite spot for ecstasy users.’
    • ‘‘The five tons of cocaine seized in this operation is one of the largest busts in the police history,’ Pardew said.’
    • ‘If the big guy isn't caught, the bust does very little to end his drug operation.’
    • ‘Another scene shows how that balance can be thrown off by a surprise police bust.’
    • ‘There have also been big busts, however, in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania.’
    • ‘Police have arrested an alleged key member of a drug syndicate after the biggest cocaine bust in Hong Kong's history.’
    • ‘The current rash of raids and busts on bars that showcase objectionable entertainment is making some of our tourists itch.’
    • ‘When the day's bust is complete, police have arrested three men in front of Sun Pay.’
    • ‘He was also usually the one who got in the police's way when they were trying to make a bust.’
    • ‘She says immigrant women would be reluctant to trust an agency that accompanies police on busts.’
    • ‘Three senior Victorian drug squad detectives and one of their wives, also a police officer, allegedly used money confiscated during heroin busts to fund the purchase of cars, boats, property and cattle.’
    • ‘In the ensuing media fracas, McAvoy's bust has rivalled Jordan's for the number of column inches generated.’
  • 3A worthless thing.

    ‘cynics remain convinced the political process is a bust’
    • ‘Between 1990 and 2000, 12 of the 21 quarterbacks taken in the first round were busts, by my definition of the term.’
    • ‘Face it, he isn't a bust on the level of Kevin Brown or Carl Pavano obviously, but he isn't what people were expecting.’
    • ‘He will be the biggest bust of the 2005 season.’
    • ‘They are reasonable choices, but if you want the biggest bust, he has to be it.’
    • ‘The biggest early bust of the college basketball season?’
    • ‘He has been the biggest bust after starring for the Padres.’
    • ‘Rice obviously isn't the player he was in Miami or Charlotte, and the big contract New York gave him looks like a long-term bust.’
    • ‘The team expects bigger things from LHP Ricardo Rincon, a major bust last season after he was acquired from Pittsburgh for OF Brian Giles.’
    • ‘There is no pressure for him to succeed, for the consensus is that he's one of the biggest first-round busts in recent memory.’
    • ‘On the other hand the big bang has been turning out to be a big bust.’
    • ‘The biggest bust of the 2002 draft barely plays and pretty much has turned teams off of European mystery men.’
    • ‘He would have been the biggest bust on this side of sector nine, but he got away.’
    • ‘Here is a look at this year's potential first-round receivers, with their chances of being an NFL bust denoted by a risk factor.’
    • ‘After being baseball's biggest bust, the Cubs shook things up by firing their third base coach.’
    • ‘We all know Kwame Brown is a bust on the court.’
    • ‘Mechanical failure made Wednesday and the rest of the week a bust for work, opening a surprise dead spot in my schedule.’
    • ‘And her last Tupperware party on Valentine's Day was a big bust.’
    • ‘The biggest bust might be this player, whom the Jets grabbed with the first pick of the second round.’
    • ‘Or will Brown continue to be one of the league's biggest busts?’
    • ‘Will the aforementioned ex-Browns D-linemen pan out or stay mired in bust status?’
  • 4North American A violent blow.

    ‘a bust on the snout’
    • ‘And a bust on the chops (for I would let him take the first swing) would be absolutely worth it if he got put away.’
    • ‘"Crazy as a loon!" said the big tunnel worker, and that got him a bust on the nose.’

adjective

informal
  • 1British Damaged or broken.

    ‘the vacuum cleaner's bust’
    • ‘Louise struggles with the car door before remembering about the bust lock, before remembering about leaving the door open.’
    • ‘Blood spurted out of his bust lip, and Jameson lifted his finger to it.’
    • ‘Her face was bleeding with a bust lip and swollen eye.’
    • ‘A couple of the white guys had black eyes or a bust lip.’
    • ‘The wakeful partner looks as if she was constructed piecemeal, again with a bust pendant from her broad shoulders.’
    • ‘It's about being stuck in the sticks with a bust radio, a girl called Megan and some wolfy things in the woodshed.’
    • ‘This, incidentally, is also the case if you do a ‘repair’ to fix a bust system - not exactly friendly.’
    • ‘She started me, I jumped up, I got one of my dizzy spells, and she gave me a bust lip and probably a black eye.’
    • ‘If you want to replace busted Volvo lights, service tool kit can help you do the job without a fuss.’
    • ‘Only there were no-one else around, just Michael and me, and poor ole Pete on the floor nursing a bust lip.’
    • ‘With one punch I was on the floor with a bust nose.’
    • ‘Even the bust radio and lost radar bleeps sinking in the fluid can't pull it from its descent into something wetter than electronics.’
  • 2Bankrupt.

    ‘six of their sponsors have gone bust’
    • ‘It's rare that an airline will go bust overnight, but it's still a good idea to know your options.’
    • ‘If the Government hadn't reversed some of the Bacon measures in the Budget, building firms would have gone bust by now.’
    • ‘So why is California, with its $1.3 trillion economy, going bust?’
    • ‘I think New York has so many tunnels due to a subway craze at the turn of the century and when the bubble burst and the companies went bust the tunnels got sealed off.’
    • ‘But then again how many businesses are going bust right now because they can't get the right people because they can't face the commute?’
    • ‘If police forces were to go bust, Lancashire would be one of them.’
    • ‘Many companies have gone bust because they have failed to do so.’
    • ‘However, all lenders are ranked before shareholders so if a company does go bust it is rare for shareholders to get much money back.’
    • ‘But even success-only fee lawyers will find it difficult to act for a bust business.’
    • ‘It's a pretty unpleasant experience when a company you've invested in goes bust and you lose your entire investment.’
    • ‘The survey revealed firms in Scotland are nearly half as likely to go bust than their English counterparts.’
    • ‘Liverpool went bust because its economy depended on the docks, and it was on the wrong side of the country for trade with Europe.’
    • ‘The directors of a bust Hampshire dealership have been charged with supplying counterfeit software to more than half of the UK's police forces.’
    • ‘That meant big firms going bust, others scrapping investment plans, and others consolidating their operations in their countries of origin.’
    • ‘After all what is the value of a bust recruitment company with no contracts?’
    • ‘It's the fact that the heady rush of patriotism helps mask the hangover of a bubble economy gone bust.’
    • ‘Most major accountancy firms believe any SPL club consistently paying more than 60% of turnover on wages run the risk of going bust.’
    • ‘The company went bust with 30,000 people losing their jobs and £40 million of debt.’
    • ‘The technology and computer sector recorded 27 failures, while 27 bars, restaurants and food outlets also went bust during the period.’
    • ‘The inflated value of the peso helped maintain an illusion of prosperity long after the economic boom had gone bust.’
    fail, collapse, crash, go under, founder, be ruined, cave in
    go bankrupt, become insolvent, cease trading, go into receivership, go into liquidation, be liquidated, be wound up
    go broke, go bump, go to the wall, go belly up, come a cropper, flop, flatline
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • —— or bust

    • Used to indicate that a supreme effort will be made to achieve the stated goal, with utter failure as the only alternative.

      ‘it's gold medal or bust for both of our basketball teams’
      ‘tomorrow's game is quite simply win or bust for both teams’
      • ‘It looked like a case of promotion or bust.’
      • ‘He admitted to thinking it was all or bust after losing the 192 points from the Queensland round.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the industry has adopted the unsustainable "blockbuster or bust" business model.’
      • ‘This game had been billed as win or bust.’
      • ‘After a year of programming, he decided it was Wall Street or bust.’

Origin

Mid 18th century (originally US, as a noun in the sense ‘an act of bursting or splitting’): variant of burst.

Pronunciation:

bust

/bʌst/