Definition of business
1 archaic : purposeful activity : busyness
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>
3a : 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>
6 : movement or action (as lighting a cigarette) by an actor intended especially to establish atmosphere, reveal character, or explain a situation —called also stage business
7a : personal concern <none of your business>b : right <you have no business speaking to me that way>
8a : serious activity requiring time and effort and usually the avoidance of distractions <got down to business>b : maximum effort
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.
Origin and Etymology of business
Middle English bisynesse, from bisy busy + -nesse -ness
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of business
synonyms see in addition work
BUSINESS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of business for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of business for Students
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 : 1matter 1 <Cleaning up the mess was an unpleasant business.>
Seen and Heard
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