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 While Plaza Mexico’s public gathering spots and food vendors are busy, several owners of apparel and other retail shops said sales haven’t recovered from the pandemic. Kate King, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2022 Allen has stayed busy retooling his roster this offseason. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Aug. 2022 The main thoroughfare along Columbus Drive was busy early and often as soon as the first acts hit the mainstages. Adriana Pérez, Chicago Tribune, 30 July 2022 The dad of three — who shares his daughters with wife Hannah Jeter — says his days are busy. Angela Andaloro, PEOPLE.com, 29 July 2022 Other first-place teams, like the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, and New York Mets, could be busy too. David Faris, The Week, 29 July 2022 Lee now lives in a crowded part of London where the streets are busy, like back home. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, 28 July 2022 The clinic was busy, Sharma told me, but not unusually so. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 25 July 2022 In the interim, the members of the L.A.-born quartet have stayed busy, variously working on solo albums, collaborating with the likes of Courtney Barnett and Suzanne Ciani, scoring films, and having a baby. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 20 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wedding planning isn't the only thing keeping the Olympic gold medalist busy these days. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 20 Apr. 2022 In the old days—the ’90s—the affluent but creatively stifled would busy themselves DJing behind a turntable. Marisa Meltzer, Town & Country, 31 Mar. 2022 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 See More

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.

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

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Busy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/busy. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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

More Definitions for busy

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

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
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!