business

noun, often attributive
busi·​ness | \ ˈbiz-nəs How to pronounce business (audio) , -nəz, Southern also ˈbid- How to pronounce business (audio) \

Definition of business

1a : a usually commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood : trade, line in the restaurant business
b : a commercial or sometimes an industrial enterprise also : such enterprises the business district
c : dealings or transactions especially of an economic nature : patronage took their business elsewhere
2a : role, function how the human mind went about its business of learning— H. A. Overstreet
b : an immediate task or objective : mission what is your business here
c : a particular field of endeavor the best in the business
3 : affair, matter the whole business got out of hand business as usual
4a : personal concern none of your business
b : right you have no business speaking to me that way
5a : serious activity requiring time and effort and usually the avoidance of distractions got down to business
b : maximum effort
7 : movement or action (such as lighting a cigarette) by an actor intended especially to establish atmosphere, reveal character, or explain a situation

called also stage business

8a : a damaging assault
9 : a bowel movement used especially of pets
10 archaic : purposeful activity : busyness

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for business

Synonyms

custom, patronage

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for business

business, commerce, trade, industry, traffic mean activity concerned with the supplying and distribution of commodities. business may be an inclusive term but specifically designates the activities of those engaged in the purchase or sale of commodities or in related financial transactions. commerce and trade imply the exchange and transportation of commodities. industry applies to the producing of commodities, especially by manufacturing or processing, usually on a large scale. traffic applies to the operation and functioning of public carriers of goods and persons.

synonyms see in addition work

Examples of business in a Sentence

Forever Odd is a direct sequel to 2003's Odd Thomas, the book in which we were introduced to the title character, a young man who can see the dead. They can't talk to him, but they can nudge him in the direction they want, which is usually to help them tidy up some unfinished business from when they were alive. — Charles De Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 2006 The Sun may never set, but air temperatures can plummet to -4 degrees Fahrenheit, and blinding snowstorms appear without warning. Sunbathing here can be risky business: even huddled in our parkas and boots, the members of our expedition live under the constant threat of frostbite and hypothermia. — Terrie M. Williams, Natural History, October 2003 Such high attrition means that most of the dot-coms here today will be gone tomorrow. The business environment is already harsh, and competition is growing. — Ann Thayer, Chemical & Engineering News, 5 June 2000 Lancaster and Columbia have plenty of history apart from the Civil War, of course. For example, Lancaster was home to F. W. Woolworth's first successful 5&10 and Milton S. Hershey's first successful candy business. Lancaster New Era, 2 July 1996 The store has lost a significant amount of business since the factory closed. She works in the publishing business. David has decided to go into business with his brother. Their publishing company is the best in the business. I have to go to New York City on business next week. They advertised to increase business. He has the skills necessary to run a business. The town is trying to attract new businesses. Do we have any other business we need to discuss? No, I didn't ask him what he wanted the car for. That's his business.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But rest assured, there is plenty of funny business happening when the cameras aren't rolling. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Chrissy Metz Says This Is Us Fans Have Kate All Wrong," 19 Mar. 2019 The former Fixer Upper stars are known for their many, many side hustles which include product lines, books, a magazine, and multiple businesses in Waco, Texas. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Are Chip and Joanna Gaines Secretly Filming for Their New TV Network? An Investigation," 12 Mar. 2019 All of them have some relevance for power users and more traditional businesses alike. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Who needs Windows 10 Pro: 5 reasons to upgrade," 5 Mar. 2019 But the virtual personal assistant business is very real. Mickey Rapkin, Town & Country, "How Does a Virtual Personal Assistant Work, Anyway?," 28 Feb. 2019 Career Gear accepts interview-appropriate business casual clothing for men. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "9 New Ways to Donate Your Clothes," 27 Feb. 2019 When the Manhattan couple-about-town decided to buy a downtown apartment as the weekend complement to their uptown residence, the do-it-right-or-don’t-do-it-at-all duo immediately got down to business. Alina Cho, ELLE Decor, "Uptown Glamour Goes Downtown in a Bold West Village Pad," 22 Feb. 2019 On Thursday, the ECB announced a third round of its Targeted Longer-Term Refinancing Operations—or TLTRO—program, which will offer cheap two-year loans to eurozone banks, linked to lending to businesses and households. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "ECB’s Latest Stimulus Will Help Banks More Than the Economy," 7 Mar. 2019 The feat marks the first time a commercial space craft capable of carrying humans hitched itself to the ISS, and the implications for Elon Musk's rocket business and the U.S. space program are equally huge. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX's First Manned Mission to The ISS Could Come as Quickly as July," 4 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'business.' 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 business

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 10

History and Etymology for business

Middle English bisynesse, from bisy busy + -nesse -ness

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about business

Statistics for business

Last Updated

25 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for business

The first known use of business was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for business

business

noun

English Language Learners Definition of business

: the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money
: work that is part of a job
: the amount of activity that is done by a store, company, factory, etc.

business

noun
busi·​ness | \ ˈbiz-nəs How to pronounce business (audio) \

Kids Definition of business

1 : the activity of making, buying, and selling goods or services We're open for business.
2 : a commercial enterprise She's starting a new business.
3 : the normal activity of a person or group Learning is the business of a student.
4 : personal concerns It's none of your business.
5 : matter entry 1 sense 1 Cleaning up the mess was an unpleasant business.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on business

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for business

Spanish Central: Translation of business

Nglish: Translation of business for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of business for Arabic Speakers

Comments on business

What made you want to look up business? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!