[ buhs-ter ]
/ ˈbʌs tər /

noun Informal.

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!

Nearby words

  1. bustamante, sir alexander,
  2. bustard,
  3. bustard quail,
  4. busted,
  5. bustee,
  6. buster brown collar,
  7. buster collar,
  8. busticate,
  9. bustier,
  10. bustle

Origin of buster

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35; bust2 + -er1


[ buhs-ter ]
/ ˈbʌs tər /


a male given name.

Origin of bust

1755–65; variant of burst, by loss of r before s, as in ass2, bass2, passel, etc.

Can be confusedburst burst (see usage note at the current entry)

Usage note

Historically bust is derived from a dialect pronunciation of burst and is related to it much as cuss is related to curse. Bust is both a noun and a verb and has a wide range of meanings for both uses. Many are slang or informal. A few, as “a decline in economic conditions, depression,” are standard.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for buster

British Dictionary definitions for buster


/ (ˈbʌstə) /

noun slang

(in combination) a person or thing destroying something as specifieddambuster
US and Canadian a term of address for a boy or man
US and Canadian a person who breaks horses
mainly US and Canadian a spree, esp a drinking bout


/ (bʌst) /


the chest of a human being, esp a woman's bosom
a sculpture of the head, shoulders, and upper chest of a person

Word Origin for bust

C17: from French buste, from Italian busto a sculpture, of unknown origin


/ (bʌst) informal /

verb busts, busting, busted or bust



Word Origin for bust

C19: from a dialect pronunciation of burst

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for buster
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with buster


In addition to the idioms beginning with bust

  • bust a gut
  • bust one's ass

also see:

  • break (bust) one's ass
  • go broke (bust)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.