busy

adjective
\ ˈbi-zē How to pronounce busy (audio) \
busier; busiest

Definition of busy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : engaged in action : occupied She's busy studying. has enough work to keep him busy for a while
b : being in use found the telephone busy
2 : full of activity : bustling a busy seaport
3 : foolishly or intrusively active : meddling a busy, fussy sort of man much concerned with regulating everything— A. M. Young
4 : full of distracting detail a busy design

busy

verb
busied; busying

Definition of busy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make engaged in action : to make busy (see busy entry 1 sense 1a) : occupy busied herself about the room

intransitive verb

: bustle small boats busied to and fro— Quentin Crewe

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Other Words from busy

Adjective

busily \ ˈbi-​zə-​lē How to pronounce busily (audio) \ adverb
busyness \ ˈbi-​zē-​nəs How to pronounce busyness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for busy

Adjective

busy, industrious, diligent, assiduous, sedulous mean actively engaged or occupied. busy chiefly stresses activity as opposed to idleness or leisure. too busy to spend time with the children industrious implies characteristic or habitual devotion to work. industrious employees diligent suggests earnest application to some specific object or pursuit. very diligent in her pursuit of a degree assiduous stresses careful and unremitting application. assiduous practice sedulous implies painstaking and persevering application. a sedulous investigation of the murder

Examples of busy in a Sentence

Adjective

She's busy preparing for her test. Are you busy? Can I talk to you for a minute? I will be busy cleaning the house. I'm sorry I haven't called. I've been so busy. busy people who don't have time to cook I got enough work to keep me busy for a while. He is a very busy person. He's been busy in the kitchen all afternoon. My week has been so busy! Is there any time in your busy schedule for us to have lunch next week?

Verb

the video game busied the child for hours
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The 49-year-old, who's also preparing to go on tour with his boy band, New Kids on the Block, apparently likes to stay very busy! Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Star Donnie Wahlberg Just Signed on to Host Another Show," 9 Mar. 2019 Victor/Shutterstock Copenhagen’s Nyhavn was originally a busy commercial port with ships from all over the world. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 25 most colorful cities in the world," 19 Feb. 2019 The Air Force, busy spooling up to fight major wars against big-power enemies, may worry that buying OA-X could be spending money on the wars of the past—not the wars to come. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Air Force May Not Buy New Stealth Tanker After All, and the Light Attack Aircraft Could be Dead Too," 30 Jan. 2019 If that's not enough, there are plenty of other ways to keep busy. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Forza Horizon 4 is the best open-world driving game you can buy," 28 Sep. 2018 From signing autographs to making backstage preparations, the music video certainly envisions a very bright, and busy, future for IV. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "IV Jay's "Stardom" Music Video Is All About Overcoming Roadblocks to Achieve Your Dreams," 8 Mar. 2019 Unfortunately that detective was busy, so frog detective got the case. Michael Moore, The Verge, "The Haunted Island: a Frog Detective Game is a farcical tale of ghosts, vacations to Indonesia, and overzealous dental care," 23 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, Henry, who reportedly had been a student at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, was busy working for former President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Today' Star Jenna Bush Hager and Husband Henry Chase Hager Have the Best Love Story," 1 Mar. 2019 Microsoft has been busy adding intelligence to Office, with innovations like smarter search and Ideas being added to simplify Office’s deep feature set, to video transcription, to the Resume Assistant feature being shown off within the Word video. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft dismisses Office 2019 as old and dumb in videos promoting Office 365 subscriptions," 6 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brian Cox plays Logan Roy, the aging tycoon, whose children and other relatives busy themselves ensuring their future entitlements. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "The Best TV of 2018: Departures and Arrivals," 17 Dec. 2018 Before setting to work on ensuring that their comrade can keep his Senate seat, New Jersey’s Democrats recently busied themselves constructing a budget deal featuring raises on both personal and corporate income. James Freeman, WSJ, "Serving Spartacus," 24 Oct. 2018 On the coast, a textured wall adds depth and charm without busying things up. Heidi Mitchell, House Beautiful, "This Lake Michigan House Was Built With Summertime In Mind," 16 Aug. 2018 Your comrades standing around watching the show slowly find other tasks with which to busy themselves, not wanting to stare. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Year of the Tractor," 7 May 2016 But astronomers are now busying themselves preparing for the next visitor. Nola Taylor Redd, Scientific American, "Interstellar Mystery Object Now Thought to Be a Comet," 27 June 2018 Off the field, Winston has busied himself with both his own charitable work and that of the team’s foundation. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Because of his past, Jameis Winston can’t afford more transgressions," 22 June 2018 The first half of the movie busies itself with saving him. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Sense8 Series Finale Recap: Farewell, International Orgies!," 8 June 2018 The chief sponsor of the League of Nations busied himself in his youth devising constitutions for a phantom yacht club and his college baseball team. Richard Norton Smith, WSJ, "‘The Moralist’ Review: The High and Rocky Road," 19 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'busy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of busy

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for busy

Adjective and Verb

Middle English bisy, from Old English bisig; akin to Middle Dutch & Middle Low German besich busy

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Learn More about busy

Dictionary Entries near busy

busty

busulfan

busway

busy

busy as a bee

busy bee

busybody

Statistics for busy

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for busy

The first known use of busy was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for busy

busy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of busy

: actively doing something
: full of activity or work
: full of people or things

busy

adjective
\ ˈbi-zē How to pronounce busy (audio) \
busier; busiest

Kids Definition of busy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : actively at work
2 : being used I tried to call, but the line was busy.
3 : full of activity a busy day

Other Words from busy

busily \ ˈbi-​zə-​lē \ adverb

busy

verb
busied; busying

Kids Definition of busy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make busy I busied myself with chores.

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More from Merriam-Webster on busy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with busy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for busy

Spanish Central: Translation of busy

Nglish: Translation of busy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of busy for Arabic Speakers

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