[ biz-nis ]SEE DEFINITION OF business


Well, if you have any business, you may state it at once, as I am quite busy.

This business attended to, Robert bent his steps to Mr. Paine's office.

He tried to recall some forgotten detail of the business that might serve to occupy him.

You don't have to be Mr. William Wisenham to do business with him.

"You certainly do know your business, son," said Uncle Peter, fervently.

Now don't get suspicious, and tell me to mind my own business when I ask you questions.

He would say that his was a trip of business, and not pleasure, and hard work he had.

The spoken language of the Aramaeans followed their business correspondence.

The business world reflects the disturbance of war's reaction.

I got through all my business, and I have a beautiful appetite.


Old English bisignes (Northumbrian) "care, anxiety, occupation," from bisig "careful, anxious, busy, occupied, diligent" (see busy (adj.)) + -ness. Middle English sense of "state of being much occupied or engaged" (mid-14c.) is obsolete, replaced by busyness.

Sense of "a person's work, occupation" is first recorded late 14c. (in late Old English bisig (adj.) appears as a noun with the sense "occupation, state of employment"). Meaning "what one is about at the moment" is from 1590s. Sense of "trade, commercial engagements" is first attested 1727. In 17c. it also could mean "sexual intercourse." Modern two-syllable pronunciation is 17c.

Business card first attested 1840; business letter from 1766. Business end "the practical or effective part" (of something) is American English, by 1874. Phrase business as usual attested from 1865. To mean business "be intent on serious action" is from 1856. To mind (one's) own business is from 1620s. Johnson's dictionary also has busiless "At leisure; without business; unemployed."


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.