be busted

Idioms & Phrases

be busted

  1. Also, go bust. Become bankrupt, financially ruined. For example, Who knew that the brokerage firm would be busted? [Slang; early 1800s] Also see under go broke.

  2. Also, get busted. Be demoted, as in If you're caught gambling you'll get busted to private. This usage originated in the military and still most often denotes a reduction in rank. [c. 1800]

  3. Also, . Be arrested or turned over to the police, as in The gang members were sure they'd get busted. [Mid-1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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