busy

adjective
\ ˈbi-zē How to pronounce busy (audio) \
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

Other Words from busy

Adjective

busily \ ˈbi-​zə-​lē How to pronounce busy (audio) \ adverb

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The series tells the story of a young Scottish vet, played by Nicholas Ralph, who moves to the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s and joins a busy practice. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, 10 Jan. 2022 Both Hopkins and Keene say young children will be walking farther, sometimes crossing busy streets like North Avenue or Pennsylvania Avenue by themselves, and past corners where people loiter and deal drugs. Liz Bowie, baltimoresun.com, 10 Jan. 2022 In the meantime, there's plenty of other Princess Diana content to keep us busy. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 10 Jan. 2022 On Wednesday, Spezzano and Parra kept busy with other employees gutting the large kitchen and its multiple dining areas, which were not only used for eating but also for local community meetings, said Parra. San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Jan. 2022 Now his team is busy ramping up; an outsourcing agency is handling some of the hiring. Shan Li, WSJ, 8 Jan. 2022 But for now, and until CPS classrooms reopen, Winn and her two assistants are caring for around a dozen children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 11 years old, keeping her busy from the first drop-off at 6 a.m. until the final pickup around midnight. Karen Ann Cullotta, chicagotribune.com, 8 Jan. 2022 But Tepper and other residents say the C.R. 419 widening will help traffic move more easily along the busy thoroughfare, which handles about 17,000 motor vehicles a day on average, according to state traffic counts. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, 7 Jan. 2022 While quarantining, the pair has been keeping busy. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, 7 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The challenge of transferring patients from rural communities to outlying hospitals, and from those hospitals to busy Anchorage facilities, was a factor in the decision. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Oct. 2021 One fear is that those who have the resources to help effect action on climate change will instead busy themselves with building their own escape pods. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021 One fear is that those who have the resources to help effect action on climate change will instead busy themselves with building their own escape pods. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021 The cabin is too secluded to wander off-property, so guests busy themselves with activities. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Sep. 2021 One fear is that those who have the resources to help effect action on climate change will instead busy themselves with building their own escape pods. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021 One fear is that those who have the resources to help effect action on climate change will instead busy themselves with building their own escape pods. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021 One fear is that those who have the resources to help effect action on climate change will instead busy themselves with building their own escape pods. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021 One fear is that those who have the resources to help effect action on climate change will instead busy themselves with building their own escape pods. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

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 and Verb

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

Learn More About busy

Time Traveler for busy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near busy

busway

busy

busy as a bee

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for busy

Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Busy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/busy. Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 How to pronounce busy (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on busy

Nglish: Translation of busy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of busy for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!