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 trail head is next to a busy commercial area, and a right-of-way takes visitors past a telecommunications tower to the start of several loop paths through the preserve. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "Exploring the banks of the Bantam River under the shade of giant hemlocks," 5 July 2019 Plus, the kids are too busy playing with Dustin’s new inventions. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: Stranger Things Season 3," 5 July 2019 Best friend and comic relief Ned (Jacob Batalon) is too busy yukking it up with a new love interest with jokes that feel wholly detached from FFH's primary thrust. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man: Far from Home," 1 July 2019 Designers are increasingly being called to task for taking too much inspiration from traditions that don’t belong to them, and governments aren’t too busy to opine on these designs. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Read the letter from Kyoto’s mayor to Kim Kardashian protesting “Kimono” shapewear," 30 June 2019 Nearly 11,000 families and 6,000 unaccompanied kids have crossed the Yuma sector since October, making it the third-busiest area in the Southwest. Washington Post, "Top immigration official: Border crossings dropping," 28 June 2019 Cooling areas and temporary water fountains have been set up in busy city areas; parks and swimming pools are being kept open later. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "Europe has had five 500-year summers in 15 years. And now this," 28 June 2019 The impact on climate due to contrails should be strongest over North America and Europe, the busiest air traffic areas on the globe, but will also significantly increase in Asia. USA TODAY, "Global warming is only going to get worse. One reason: Those cloud trails airplanes leave behind in the sky," 27 June 2019 What’s more, the media have been too busy dissecting Trump’s every tweet-storm and tirade to take note of his administration’s systematic attacks on the LGBTQ community. Gabriel Arana, The New Republic, "Fifty Years After Stonewall, Many States Still Lack LGBTQ Protections," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Whereas Mary sits at Jesus' feet, Martha busies herself with preparing dinner. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale," 6 June 2019 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

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

12 Jul 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

Comments on busy

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