busy

adjective
\ˈbi-zē \
busier; busiest

Definition of busy 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : engaged in action : occupied She's busy studying. has enough work to keep him busy for a while

b : being in use found the telephone busy

2 : full of activity : bustling a busy seaport

3 : foolishly or intrusively active : meddling a busy, fussy sort of man much concerned with regulating everything— A. M. Young

4 : full of distracting detail a busy design

busy

verb
busied; busying

Definition of busy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make engaged in action : to make busy (see busy entry 1 sense 1a) : occupy busied herself about the room

intransitive verb

: bustle small boats busied to and fro— Quentin Crewe

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Other Words from busy

Adjective

busily \ˈbi-​zə-​lē \ adverb
busyness \ˈbi-​zē-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for busy

Adjective

busy, industrious, diligent, assiduous, sedulous mean actively engaged or occupied. busy chiefly stresses activity as opposed to idleness or leisure. too busy to spend time with the children industrious implies characteristic or habitual devotion to work. industrious employees diligent suggests earnest application to some specific object or pursuit. very diligent in her pursuit of a degree assiduous stresses careful and unremitting application. assiduous practice sedulous implies painstaking and persevering application. a sedulous investigation of the murder

Examples of busy in a Sentence

Adjective

She's busy preparing for her test. Are you busy? Can I talk to you for a minute? I will be busy cleaning the house. I'm sorry I haven't called. I've been so busy. busy people who don't have time to cook I got enough work to keep me busy for a while. He is a very busy person. He's been busy in the kitchen all afternoon. My week has been so busy! Is there any time in your busy schedule for us to have lunch next week?

Verb

the video game busied the child for hours
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Between running a retail empire, raising her family of five, and flipping properties around Waco, Texas, Joanna Gaines is one busy TV star. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Never Leaves the House Without These Two Things in Her Purse," 9 Dec. 2018 The president was expected to announce his official decision during the annual Army-Navy football game on Saturday, but instead did so as part of his busy Saturday morning on Twitter. Alex Ward, Vox, "Trump names Army Gen. Mark Milley as new chair of the Joint Chiefs," 8 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, Alan has been plenty busy himself twirling and foxtrotting all around the country on the Dancing With the Stars Live! Tour. Sigh. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Alexis Ren Basically Said She and 'Dancing With the Stars' Pro Alan Bersten Broke Up," 7 Dec. 2018 Note that staggered release dates in the calendar year can mean some consoles enjoyed busier sales periods during their first months on sale. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Putting Nintendo Switch’s 8.2 million US Switch sales in context," 28 Nov. 2018 The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Slover Project, which will have 162 truck docks, predicted the distribution center would add more than 1,000 trips per day to and from the busy I-10 and I-60 corridors. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Your online shopping is polluting this small town," 20 Nov. 2018 Pay close attention to lights that serve the front entrance and walkway that leads to the front door or other busy entrances. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "15 Things to Do Around the House Before the Holidays," 16 Nov. 2018 Thanks for your time, especially during his very busy homestretch of the campaign. Fox News, "McConnell on marshalling the votes to confirm Kavanaugh," 7 Oct. 2018 Now judges can consider various circumstances in their deliberations, such as the existence of a yard or a spouse’s busy work schedule. Elisa Orzac Shoenberger, BostonGlobe.com, "When a marriage ends, who gets the family pet?," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Before setting to work on ensuring that their comrade can keep his Senate seat, New Jersey’s Democrats recently busied themselves constructing a budget deal featuring raises on both personal and corporate income. James Freeman, WSJ, "Serving Spartacus," 24 Oct. 2018 On the coast, a textured wall adds depth and charm without busying things up. Heidi Mitchell, House Beautiful, "This Lake Michigan House Was Built With Summertime In Mind," 16 Aug. 2018 Your comrades standing around watching the show slowly find other tasks with which to busy themselves, not wanting to stare. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Year of the Tractor," 7 May 2016 But astronomers are now busying themselves preparing for the next visitor. Nola Taylor Redd, Scientific American, "Interstellar Mystery Object Now Thought to Be a Comet," 27 June 2018 Off the field, Winston has busied himself with both his own charitable work and that of the team’s foundation. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Because of his past, Jameis Winston can’t afford more transgressions," 22 June 2018 The first half of the movie busies itself with saving him. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Sense8 Series Finale Recap: Farewell, International Orgies!," 8 June 2018 The chief sponsor of the League of Nations busied himself in his youth devising constitutions for a phantom yacht club and his college baseball team. Richard Norton Smith, WSJ, "‘The Moralist’ Review: The High and Rocky Road," 19 Apr. 2018 For now, Erin has mostly stayed off social media and instead busied herself with friends and family. Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, "One Santa Fe student's struggle to cope: Church, baking, friends — and a plea to arm teachers," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'busy.' 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 busy

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for busy

Adjective

Middle English bisy, from Old English bisig; akin to Middle Dutch & Middle Low German besich busy

Verb

see busy entry 1

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Learn More about busy

Dictionary Entries near busy

busty

busulfan

busway

busy

busy as a bee

busy bee

busybody

Statistics for busy

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for busy

The first known use of busy was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for busy

busy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of busy

: actively doing something

: full of activity or work

: full of people or things

busy

adjective
\ˈbi-zē \
busier; busiest

Kids Definition of busy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : actively at work

2 : being used I tried to call, but the line was busy.

3 : full of activity a busy day

Other Words from busy

busily \ˈbi-​zə-​lē \ adverb

busy

verb
busied; busying

Kids Definition of busy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make busy I busied myself with chores.

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More from Merriam-Webster on busy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with busy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for busy

Spanish Central: Translation of busy

Nglish: Translation of busy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of busy for Arabic Speakers

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