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

The Spartans and Nitros have been busy throughout the summer putting together lineup combinations that will hopefully have them in line to contend for league titles next season. Charles Rich, latimes.com, "La Cañada girls' basketball gets best of Glendale," 11 July 2018 Trending Video Garrett Watts Reacts to His Old Instagram Photos To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that : 0%: 0% Kaia sure has been busy as of late. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Kaia Gerber Wears Dramatic Back-Combed Wig at Valentino Haute Couture Paris Show," 5 July 2018 Police stayed busy Friday night responding to Gloucester’s latest criminal: a seagull. Elise Takahama, BostonGlobe.com, "Seagull in Gloucester snatches wallet from man on the street," 14 July 2018 On an early June evening, the three-paneled video billboard that towers over one of downtown Toronto’s busiest intersections shuffles through its usual advertisements. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Unprecedented Billboard Campaign Puts Spotlight on Indigenous Artists in Canada," 13 July 2018 And included in its busy concert slate this summer: a Wisconsin State Fair show next month, and a return to Summerfest earlier this month. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "At concerts, White Sox and Bulls games, folks are getting familiar with Well-Known Strangers," 13 July 2018 The area remains the busiest transit corridor along the U.S.-Mexico border and, as a result, has been at the forefront of the family-separation debate. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Rights group claims family separations continue at border, despite Trump's executive order," 13 July 2018 Tiny Eritrea, located on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and across the Red Sea from the Arabian Peninsula, has been ruled by Afwerki since gaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after years of rebel warfare. Washington Post, "Eritrea leader visits Ethiopia on Saturday in historic thaw," 13 July 2018 Games, science activities, crafts and music will keep your child busy from 9 a.m. to noon every day that week. Tracy Trobridge, Howard County Times, "Glenwood Lions Club recognizes police and fire heroes [Glenwood/Glenelg/Dayton]," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Taka, who spent much of this talk busying himself on the computer, makes his way over to the kitchen island and observes. Mariah Smith, The Cut, "Everyone’s Looking for Something in This Episode of Terrace House," 24 Apr. 2018 Although a psychiatrist once prescribed her antianxiety and antidepressant medications, Melanie's trying to talk to her counselor, busy herself with projects, and see friends and family more before going down that road. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "What It's Like to Live With PTSD After Escaping Domestic Violence," 19 Apr. 2018 Since the split, Caputo has busied herself with the new Long Island Medium episodes, which will feature celebrities like Melissa Etheridge, Robert Patrick, Jillian Michaels, and Tituss Burgess. Rose Minutaglio, Good Housekeeping, ""Long Island Medium" Theresa Caputo on Life After Her Split From Larry," 5 Apr. 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

18 Oct 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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Comments on busy

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