1 of 2


busier; busiest
: engaged in action : occupied
She's busy studying.
has enough work to keep him busy for a while
: being in use
found the telephone busy
: full of activity : bustling
a busy seaport
: foolishly or intrusively active : meddling
a busy, fussy sort of man much concerned with regulating everythingA. M. Young
: full of distracting detail
a busy design
busily adverb


2 of 2


busied; busying

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 froQuentin Crewe
Choose the Right Synonym for busy

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
Recent Examples on the Web
The stations are part of Maryland’s larger plan to build a total of 41 new charging stations along busy arteries, funded largely by the federal government’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. Christine Condon, Baltimore Sun, 10 July 2024 Two years ago, a study found mountain lions were crossing busy roadways to escape the 2018 Woolsey fire, resulting in a higher chance of them being hit by a vehicle or dying in territorial disputes with other mountain lions. Sandra McDonald, Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2024
In spite of all the legal troubles, Diddy has been busying himself by clearing out his Instagram and going whitewater rafting. Mya Abraham, VIBE.com, 3 July 2024 Indeed, while fans and pundits have been busying themselves with speculation about the depths of his team loyalty and his future, James has been busy building an economic empire tying himself more fully to Los Angeles. Erika D. Smith, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for busy 

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

Word History


Adjective and Verb

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

First Known Use


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


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near busy

Cite this Entry

“Busy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/busy. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
busier; busiest
: involved in action : actively at work
too busy to eat
: being in use
the phone line is busy
: full of activity
a busy street
busily adverb
busyness noun


2 of 2 verb
busied; busying
: to make or keep busy

More from Merriam-Webster on busy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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