Origin of bust1
Words nearby bust
Other definitions for bust (2 of 2)
- 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.
- an arrest.
- a police raid.
- a very weak hand.
- Bridge. a hand lacking the potential to take a single trick.
- 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.
Origin of bust2
historical usage of bust
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH bustburst, bust
BEHIND THE PHRASE
What does or bust mean?
The phrase or bust is used when someone is pursuing an end no matter what, even if they fail trying. Saying New York City or bust, for example, means someone is doing absolutely everything to go there.
How is or bust pronounced?[ awr buhst ]
Where does or bust come from?
The phrase or bust may be associated with hitchhikers who’d write it on the signs they’d hold on the side of the highway while waiting for someone to offer them a ride (e.g., Vegas or bust), but the expression was apparently first popularized in the Colorado gold rush of the mid-1800s.
Following the discovery of gold in what is now Englewood, Colorado, people with little or nothing to lose began heading to an area of the state known as Pike’s Peak Country hoping to strike it rich. Around the 1850–60s, some of these dreamers began using the phrase Pike’s Peak or bust as they boarded up their homes and headed west through unforgiving weather and terrain—all for that sweet, sweet gold.
These gold-seekers didn’t invent the phrase, though. It’s recorded as early as the 1830s. Bust itself is a variant of burst, and or bust implies that one will violently break down or fall to pieces before giving up on their goal.
During the 2016 Democratic primaries, some die-hard supporters of the progressive Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders started an effort called Bernie or Bust. Some of these people pledged that they would not vote for Hillary Clinton if she won the Democratic nomination. Instead, they would write in Sanders, vote for a third-party candidate, or not vote.
How is or bust used in real life?
The phrase or bust follows the object of one’s ambition, such as a location or accomplishment (e.g., Austin or bust or 4.0 GPA or bust).
Or bust is often still used in the context of a trip, especially road trips. Nowadays it’s mostly used for enthusiasm and not meant to suggest that not arriving at the intended location is an actual possibility.
— Magnolia Girls Hoops (@MagnoliaGBB) November 15, 2018
The phrase is also often used outside the realm of travel, and is meant to suggest that there is only one option and way forward, that anything else is defeat or failure (e.g., Our team is going to the Super Bowl or bust).
More examples of or bust:
“It’s win or bust for both Donegal and Roscommon at The Hyde after their opening Super Eights defeats and Bonner was making sure he had his troops rallied ahead of the long trip home to the north-west.”
—Michael Scully, Irish Mirror, July 2018
How to use bust in a sentence
The dotcom bust, which followed Apple’s second-ever stock split in June 2000, wrecked investors’ returns.Investors riding high on Apple and Tesla stock splits could get clipped, data shows|rhhackettfortune|August 31, 2020|Fortune
Hormones could very well be making booms and busts worse than they need be.
I don’t want to be doomsday, but it is bleak right now, so we have to think about outdoor recreation as another economic specialization that’s vulnerable to boom-and-bust and think about long-term diversification.The Recreation Economy Isn't As Resilient As We Thought|Heather Hansman|August 29, 2020|Outside Online
In the past, a bust brought calls for economic diversification.
Although the 30-minute-rule to getting engagement has been busted, it definitely helps to know your best posting time and post consistently.How to optimize for the Instagram algorithm in 2020|Julia Miashkova|August 19, 2020|Search Engine Watch
Nobody ever says they want to become a cop so they can bust people for urinating in public or drinking alcohol on their stoop.
Before this latest brush with the law, the rapper was facing pot-bust and unrelated gun charges.Rapper Bobby Shmurda Arrested at New York’s Notorious Quad Studios|M.L. Nestel|December 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Because Wright was a no-show in criminal court to face the loud music and pot bust he already had an outstanding warrant.
And every day, we bust our asses to continue “making it,” but we most certainly have not “made it.”
People believe that the financial sector has been allowed to return to its pre-bust excesses.
The back of her head will be quite in line with her charming little bust, and I for one shall walk round and laugh in her face.Ancestors|Gertrude Atherton
Among these are "Medusa," a bronze bust; and a "Mater Dolorosa," in terra-cotta.Women in the fine arts, from the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D.|Clara Erskine Clement
It was destroyed in the fire, but has been replaced, and few could tell the present bust is not the original one.Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham|Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
A neat little monument, with a marble bust, is erected to the memory of the founder.A Woman's Journey Round the World|Ida Pfeiffer
The only sure thing about most of those schemes is the certainty of 'going bust' and losing every penny you have in the world.The Outdoor Girls in the Saddle|Laura Lee Hope
British Dictionary definitions for bust (1 of 2)
Word Origin for bust
British Dictionary definitions for bust (2 of 2)
Word Origin for bust
Other Idioms and Phrases with bust
In addition to the idioms beginning with bust
- bust a gut
- bust one's ass
- break (bust) one's ass
- go broke (bust)