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

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Synonyms for business

Synonyms

custom, patronage

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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

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 Guests at tonight's event include members of the local business and sporting communities such as Dame Mary Peters, a former track and field athlete who was just appointed to the prestigious Order of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Finishes Off Day One of the Royal Tour of Northern Ireland in a Missoni Dress," 27 Feb. 2019 The company was founded in Sweden by William Lundgren and Veronika Kant (who have backgrounds in business and strategic communications, respectively). Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "A First Look at Sustainable Brand BITE’s Fall 2019 Collection," 27 Feb. 2019 Michael is in the storytelling business, and here was an opportunity to tell his story. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "A Dream House on the Malibu Coast with Breathtaking Views," 12 Feb. 2019 But a wholesale shutdown would inevitably put the majority of pressure on the shoulders of border-state businesses and corporations. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Trump threatens to shut down the border for the third time in three months," 29 Dec. 2018 Although today’s news means that video games are back in business, the system for getting approval for new titles still remains opaque. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "China lifts video game ban but not for its biggest player," 29 Dec. 2018 Sign up for our Recode Daily newsletter to get the top tech and business news stories delivered to your inbox. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Instagram got rid of the scrolling feed for some users and people freaked out," 27 Dec. 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

11 Mar 2019

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 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.

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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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