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bus·​tle ˈbə-səl How to pronounce bustle (audio)
bustled; bustling ˈbəs-liŋ How to pronounce bustle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to move briskly and often ostentatiously
bustled around the kitchen
: to be busily astir : teem
The house was bustling with activity.


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noun (1)

: noisy, energetic, and often obtrusive activity
the hustle and bustle of the big city


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noun (2)

clothing : a pad or framework expanding and supporting the fullness and drapery of the back of a woman's skirt or dress
the bustle of a 19th century wedding gown
also : the drapery so supported

Examples of bustle in a Sentence

Verb She bustled around the kitchen getting ready for dinner guests. on Saturdays the city's downtown bustles with activity as a farmers' market sets up shop
Recent Examples on the Web
The program is to occur in Shanghai, a bustling metropolis known as the Paris of the East and home to more than 26 million people. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 30 Nov. 2023 The Social Evil Ordinance was short-lived—it was repealed in 1874—yet the oldest profession continued to thrive as the Gateway to the West expanded its reign as a bustling port along the Mississippi. Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Nov. 2023 Uniqlo, Zara and H&M, with placards offering 30%, 40% and 50% off, were bustling. Jeannette Neumann and Olivia Rockeman Bloomberg News (tns), arkansasonline.com, 26 Nov. 2023 Once bustling with activity, UCLA’s football practice field nearly has emptied on a warm morning. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2023 This Limited Edition recalls the distinctive scents of the bustling marketplaces and fragrant ofrendas (offerings) placed on altars throughout the country during Día de Muertos. Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 26 Oct. 2023 In another, Bas proudly waves a Sudanese flag to a bustling crowd from a stage. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 25 Oct. 2023 London is known for its bustling fashion and art scene so the new store being right at the center on 57-59 Beak Street makes perfect sense. Essence, 23 Oct. 2023 The home renovation scene is always bustling with easy tricks for upgrading your interior design game without renovating your entire house—aka changing up the small details. Sophia Beams, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Oct. 2023
Crafted to provide moments of relaxation and rejuvenation, these presents offer a respite from the hustle and bustle, ensuring you or a special someone can bask in the joy of self-care. Samantha Booth, Rolling Stone, 27 Nov. 2023 The hustle and bustle of the holidays can also make pets feel stressed and overwhelmed. Amy McGorry, Fox News, 25 Nov. 2023 For the rest of the film, you’re hit with a stunning series of images of all the earth has to offer, from the peaceful serenity of a seaside cave to the clamoring bustle of the modern metropolis. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 22 Nov. 2023 Travel offers the opportunity to experience a sense of calm, serenity or even just the ability to escape from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of our work and personal lives. Mariette Williams, Essence, 17 Nov. 2023 For Isreal, Twinbrook is a reminder of what Rockville used to be decades ago: a community where neighbors recognize each other on walks and look out for each other; a place still evocative of a small town despite its proximity to big developments and the bustle of Washington. Hope Hodge Seck, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 The director revels in the frantic bustle of the Oklahoma boomtown of Fairfax where most of the film is set — a world of fast, shiny cars, hollering cowboys, and seemingly endless oil fields. Vulture, 20 Oct. 2023 And, starting next spring, travelers can escape the hustle and bustle of cities with a trip to the scenic Cataloochee Ranch in North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 13 Nov. 2023 Like The Good Wife before it, The Gilded Age is a veritable who’s who of great New York theater actors: Tony nominees in bustles and cravats as far as the eye can see. Phillip MacIak, The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bustle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun (1)

probably alteration of obsolete buskle to prepare, frequentative of busk, from Old Norse būask to prepare oneself

Noun (2)

origin unknown

First Known Use


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

1637, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1782, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bustle was in 1548

Dictionary Entries Near bustle

Cite this Entry

“Bustle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bustle. Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
bus·​tle ˈbəs-əl How to pronounce bustle (audio)
bustled; bustling ˈbəs-(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce bustle (audio)
: to move about busily or noisily


2 of 2 noun
: noisy or energetic activity

More from Merriam-Webster on bustle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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