What does busy mean?

Definitions for busy
ˈbɪz ibusy

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word busy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. busyadjective

    actively or fully engaged or occupied

    "busy with her work"; "a busy man"; "too busy to eat lunch"

  2. busy, fussyadjective

    overcrowded or cluttered with detail

    "a busy painting"; "a fussy design"

  3. interfering, meddlesome, meddling, officious, busy, busybodiedadjective

    intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner

    "an interfering old woman"; "bustling about self-importantly making an officious nuisance of himself"; "busy about other people's business"

  4. busyadjective

    crowded with or characterized by much activity

    "a very busy week"; "a busy life"; "a busy street"; "a busy seaport"

  5. busy, engaged, in use(p)verb

    (of facilities such as telephones or lavatories) unavailable for use by anyone else or indicating unavailability; (`engaged' is a British term for a busy telephone line)

    "her line is busy"; "receptionists' telephones are always engaged"; "the lavatory is in use"; "kept getting a busy signal"

  6. busy, occupyverb

    keep busy with

    "She busies herself with her butterfly collection"


  1. busyverb

    To make somebody busy, to keep busy with, to occupy, to make occupied.

  2. busyverb

    To rush somebody.

  3. busyadjective

    Doing a great deal; having a lot of things to do in the space of time given

    It has been a busy day.

  4. busyadjective

    Engaged in another activity or by someone else.

  5. busyadjective

    Having a lot going on; complicated or intricate.

    Flowers, stripes, and checks in the same fabric make for a busy pattern.

  6. Etymology: From busi, besy, bisi, from bysig, *, bisig. Cognate with bezig, besig, bisgia, bisgian.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. BUSYadjective

    Etymology: bysgian, Sax. It is pronounced as bissy.

    My mistress sends you word, that she is busy, and cannot come. William Shakespeare, Taming the Shr.

    The christians, sometimes valiantly receiving the enemy, and sometimes charging them again, repulsed the proud enemy, still busy with them. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    The next thing which she waking looks upon,
    On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,
    She shall pursue it with the soul of love. William Shakespeare.

    This busy pow’r is working day and night;
    For when the outward senses rest do take,
    A thousand dreams, fantastical and light,
    With flutt’ring wings, do keep her still awake. Davies.

    The coming spring would first appear,
    And all this place with roses strow,
    If busy feet would let them grow. Edmund Waller.

    All written since that time, seem to have little more than events we are glad to know, or the controversy of opinions, wherein the busy world has been so much employed. William Temple.

    Religious motives and instincts are so busy in the heart of every reasonable creature, that no man would hope to govern a society, without regard to those principles. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

  2. To Busyverb

    To employ; to engage; to make or keep busy.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    He in great passion all this while did dwell,
    More busying his quick eyes her face to view,
    Than his dull ears to hear what she did tell. Fairy Queen, b. i.

    The pleasure which I took at my friend’s pleasure herein, idly busied me thus to express the same. Richard Carew, Survey.

    My Harry,
    Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
    With foreign quarrels. William Shakespeare, Henry IV. p. ii.

    While they were busied to lay the foundations, their buildings were overthrown by an earthquake, and many thousands of the Jews were overwhelmed. Walter Raleigh, History.

    The points which busied the devotion of the first ages, and the curiosity of the later. Decay of Piety.

    The ideas it is busied about, should be natural and congenial ones, which it had in itself. John Locke.

    The learning and disputes of the schools have been much busied about genus and species. John Locke.

    For the rest, it must be owned, he does not busy himself, by entering deep into any party, but rather spends his time in acts of hospitality. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Busy

    Busy is a song performed by British singer-songwriter Olly Murs, taken from his debut studio album, Olly Murs. It was written by Murs, Adam Argyle, Martin Brammer, and was released as the fourth and final single from the album on 27 May 2011. It was his second single to not be accompanied by a physical CD single. The song was also Murs' first single release to fail to reach the UK Top 40.


  1. busy

    Busy refers to a state of being actively engaged or occupied with tasks, work, or other activities. It often implies having a lot of tasks to complete or things to do, leading to a limited amount of free or leisure time.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Busyadjective

    engaged in some business; hard at work (either habitually or only for the time being); occupied with serious affairs; not idle nor at leisure; as, a busy merchant

  2. Busyadjective

    constantly at work; diligent; active

  3. Busyadjective

    crowded with business or activities; -- said of places and times; as, a busy street

  4. Busyadjective

    officious; meddling; foolish active

  5. Busyadjective

    careful; anxious

  6. Busyverb

    to make or keep busy; to employ; to engage or keep engaged; to occupy; as, to busy one's self with books

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Busy

    biz′i, adj. fully employed: active: diligent: meddling.—v.t. to make busy: to occupy:—pr.p. busying (biz′i-ing); pa.p. busied (biz′id).—adv. Bus′ily.—n. Bus′ybody, one busy about others' affairs, a meddling person.—adj. Bus′yless (Shak.), without business.—n. Bus′yness, state of being busy. [A.S. bysig.]

Suggested Resources

  1. BUSY

    What does BUSY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the BUSY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'busy' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2286

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'busy' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1179

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'busy' in Adjectives Frequency: #259

How to pronounce busy?

How to say busy in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of busy in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of busy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of busy in a Sentence

  1. Danish proverb:

    A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.

  2. Tim Robbins:

    It simply comes down to this, Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying.

  3. John Kasich:

    I just didn't see it. I'm sorry, i don't know where it stands right now, but I've been busy. I was busy all day yesterday here.

  4. Jennifer Garner:

    Ben is super busy and I'm super happy for him, i chose to stay home this year and just said, 'Go for it babe. Do it all. Do ‘Gone Girl,’ do ‘Batman,’ do ‘The Accountant.’ Do everything.' I want that for him and I'm happy for him. And he says the same to me. Except that he's really busy. But he understands that when I really have to do it, we figure it out.

  5. Effie Vasilopoulos:

    We are very busy updating risk disclosures across all types of China products at the moment, and we expect to stay busy on this until the end of the year, since the crisis, we have seen a general recalibration of China risk across the fund management industry, with regulatory risk now seen as much higher.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for busy

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"busy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 9 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/busy>.

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