business

noun, often attributive
busi·​ness | \ˈbiz-nəs, -nəz, Southern also ˈbid- \

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

b : rebuke, tongue-lashing

c : double cross

9 : a bowel movement used especially of pets

10 archaic : purposeful activity : busyness

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

At least seven people were killed and dozens of businesses were looted during the unrest. Ezequiel Abiu Lopez And Evens Sanon, chicagotribune.com, "Haiti's prime minister resigns after plan to raise fuel prices sparked deadly protests," 14 July 2018 The baby boomers were retiring, the markets were gyrating, companies were trying to get out of the pension business, and state and local pension plans were struggling. Mary Williams Walsh, BostonGlobe.com, "Jeremy Gold, 75, actuary who warned of pension crisis," 14 July 2018 Ben Katovsky -- currently EVP Global Rights Administration -- has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the key service functions contributing to the growth of the business. Wolfgang Spahr, Billboard, "BMG Promotes Ben Katovsky to COO, Ama Walton to Global General Counsel," 13 July 2018 Disclosures are meant to provide transparency to avoid conflicts of interest involving justices and those who do business before the court. Amy Brittain, courant.com, "Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh piled up credit card debt by purchasing Nationals tickets, White House says," 12 July 2018 There are so many things that aren’t here any more — a lot of businesses have shut down just in the last year. Julia Terruso, Philly.com, "Ellen Tiberino, of art-family royalty, fighting to keep a legacy alive in gentrifying Powelton Village," 12 July 2018 Texas was once synonymous with the expansive version of Republicanism pursued by the Bushes and Rick Perry, a strand more concerned with taking care of business than with fighting culture wars or kicking out immigrants. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018 The San Diego County Gun Owner’s group has accused activists of misleading the public about how business gets done at Crossroads. Paul Sisson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Crossroads gun show returns to Del Mar, so do protesters," 15 July 2018 Jesse Macias, assistant events operation manager, said business was brisk at the Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ food truck. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Riverfront Food Truck Festival Draws Thousands Before Fireworks," 15 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for business

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for business

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

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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 \

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.

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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

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