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

Synonyms for business

Synonyms

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 Biberaj said her office consulted with the four business owners who were victimized, and all agreed that the restitution and sentence were fine. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, 26 June 2022 Netflix is in the midst of a reset, expanding its content purview and its core business model in ways that would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 June 2022 This medium has become a go-to source of entertainment and education for many, which is why business owners are clamoring to launch their own podcast ventures. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 23 June 2022 Continuing expansion of course offerings to appeal to a broader demographic is part of the future business model. Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 23 June 2022 But Mayor Andre Dickens and interim police Chief Darin Schierbaum are asking more residents and business owners to register their surveillance systems with the city, hopeful that Atlanta’s camera network will help solve and deter crime. Shaddi Abusaid, ajc, 21 June 2022 In the heart of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on Sunday a scene of Black neighborhood natives, families, business owners, and pedestrians could be spotted headed toward The Lay Out in celebration of Juneteenth. Cassandra Pintro, Vogue, 20 June 2022 The persistent closures have government officials, residents, tourists and business owners bracing for a bummer summer in the South Bay. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 June 2022 Greenwood, the fintech banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and business owners, has hired Marie-Le as chief marketing officer. Paige Mcglauflin, Fortune, 17 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best business laptops.

Learn More About business

Time Traveler for business

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near business

busine

business

business administration

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for business

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Business.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/business. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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

More Definitions for business

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on business

Nglish: Translation of business for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of business for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!