Definition of business
1 archaic : purposeful activity : busyness
2a : role, function how the human mind went about its business of learning — H. A. Overstreetb : an immediate task or objective : mission what is your business herec : 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 businessb : a commercial or sometimes an industrial enterprise; also : such enterprises the business districtc : dealings or transactions especially of an economic nature : patronage took their business elsewhere
6 : 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
7a : personal concern none of your businessb : 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 businessb : 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.
Recent Examples of business from the Web
The Paris agreement gives us that flexible framework to manage climate change while providing a smooth transition for business.
SMALL BUSINESS Centers aimed at helping small businesses thrive in Illinois have also had a difficult time, with closures during the impasse.
Flynn will turn over documents related to two of his businesses as well as some personal documents the committee requested earlier this month, a person close to Flynn said.
His business partner, Fernand Amandi, tweeted Saturday that Bendixen was 68.
Strategic Review Gorkov said in a statement issued by Vnesheconombank earlier this year that his meeting with Kushner was one of a series of meetings with foreign business leaders as part of a strategic review in 2016.
Phil Bedella is out after six years as vice president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which is heading into a critical period thanks to potential threats to its business posed by cord-cutters and the Cubs.
Today, UniFirst supplies uniforms to nearly two million people working for 300,000 businesses in the United States, Canada and Europe, many in the food service, health care and energy industries.
Trump Organization employees are not soliciting information about whether reservations or business is from a foreign government.
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.
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
What made you want to look up business? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).