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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from busy

Adjective

busily \ ˈbi-​zə-​lē How to pronounce busy (audio) \ adverb

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Though the Roncalli softball team could be playing another week, Trevor has a busy June of his own. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, 4 June 2021 This is just a long woods road through oak, maple, and birch, with some trails leading off into wild fields, surrounding forests busy with wildlife. BostonGlobe.com, 3 June 2021 This all would be forgivable if Exxon management was too busy delivering superior returns; that hasn’t been the case for a while, though. Jinjoo Lee, WSJ, 3 June 2021 One Friday evening in mid-April, more than 100 migrants were tested and walked across the busy highway to the bus station. USA Today, 3 June 2021 The major cruise lines are busy getting ships positioned and crews vaccinated for these and other itineraries yet to be announced and cleared to sail. Marnie Hunter, CNN, 3 June 2021 Rizvi and Panlaqui, both web developers, began working on their project to stay busy in quarantine. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 3 June 2021 Break My Heart, with Dua’s voice coming through clearly amongst the busy elements. Janhoi Mcgregor, Forbes, 3 June 2021 After a slow start to high school sports back in the fall, things will wrap up with two state tournaments this week, the last and latest busy championship weekend of the school year. Anchorage Daily News, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During the summer of 2020, at-home tie dye kits sold like hotcakes as people looked to busy themselves during lockdown. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 13 May 2021 To that end, Neil will busy himself with trying to win over his No. 1 critic, who happens to be passionate no-nonsense Deputy Mayor Arpi, played by Holly Hunter, and attempting to bond with his highly capable teenage daughter, Orly (Kyla Kenedy). Dan Snierson, EW.com, 20 Nov. 2020 The coronavirus pandemic is boosting e-commerce as homebound consumers order more products online and busy themselves with do-it-yourself projects during quarantine lockdowns. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, 12 Aug. 2020 Guests can busy themselves with everything from ice fishing to cooking and baking classes. Sara Clemence, Travel + Leisure, 8 July 2020 This fall, lawmakers’ budget staff members will busy themselves with preparations for next year’s session, when the next two-year budget will be written. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, 2 July 2020 Residents busied themselves with home repairs and thoughts of the future. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2020 Right now, that might mean busying ourselves with puzzles, at-home workouts, Zoom parties, or Animal Crossing. Rachel Krause, refinery29.com, 1 Apr. 2020 Homebound residents in the Washington region are busying themselves with spring cleaning and yardwork during the shutdown, stressing some suburban trash collection systems. Jahi Chikwendiu, Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about busy

Time Traveler for busy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for busy

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Busy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/busy. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on busy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for busy

Nglish: Translation of busy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of busy for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!