Definition of business in English:


Line breaks: busi|ness
Pronunciation: /ˈbɪznəs


[mass noun]
  • 1A person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade: experts who typically conduct their business over the Internet
    More example sentences
    • He was in Japan, a guest of the Japanese consulate on business in his other profession as writer and journalist.
    • Ashraf regularly flew to Pakistan from Glasgow airport on business.
    • Zurich surveyed firms to see if they carry out risk assessments of employees before letting them drive on business.
    work, line of work, line, occupation, profession, career, employment, job, position, pursuit, vocation, calling, field, sphere, walk of life, trade, craft; Scottish way; French métier
    informal racket, game
    Australian informal grip
    archaic employ
  • 1.1An activity that someone is engaged in: what is your business here?
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    • Her fortnight in the city passed quickly, a whirl of business and unavoidable social engagements.
    • Nor was this the only business in which Bevan engaged in the course of that year.
    • It will be up to him to engage in the smoke-and-mirror business of political negotiation at a European level in the next week.
  • 1.2A person’s concern: this is none of your business the neighbours make it their business to know all about you
    More example sentences
    • I know that his personal well-being is none of my business, but somehow it's hard not to worry about Harry.
    • It's none of our business to control what the NCC thinks or says about politics.
    • I did some other things that were on the list but those are none of your business.
    concern, affair, responsibility, province, preserve, duty, function, task, assignment, obligation, problem, worry, lookout
    informal funeral, headache, bailiwick
    British informal pigeon, baby
  • 1.3Work that has to be done or matters that have to be attended to: government business let’s get down to business
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    • This year however she returned to school late due to business she had to attend back home.
    • After giving up that business they attended a number of courses lasting from one to three days.
    • Balloonist Rick Walczak plans to attend to some unfinished business in the next few weeks.
  • 4 Theatre Actions on stage other than dialogue.
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    • What these critics are missing is the stage business that occurs during the dialogue.
    • Moreover, it deliberately made use of the modern in its stage business.
    • Like Marmite, you either savour this daft stage business or you wish its energy was never let out of the jar.
  • 5 (the business) British informal A very enjoyable or popular person or thing: this brandy is the business
    More example sentences
    • Thanks for being on time, in fact thanks for waiting for me as I was late - your valet parking service really is the business if you are in business!
    • Like we've said - our Business Premier Class really is The Business.
    • This one really is the business for anyone with an entrepreneurial notion, who wants a resource on all aspects of running a business.


business as usual

An ongoing and unchanging state of affairs despite difficulties or disturbances: apart from being under new management, it’s business as usual in the department
More example sentences
  • He said after a meeting on Wednesday night that it would be business as usual despite the ongoing situation.
  • So the official line was that it will be business as usual despite the warning.
  • At Manchester Airport it was business as usual despite a four-day walkout by security staff.

do the business

British informal
Do what is required or achieve the desired result: Rogers has got to do the business, score a hat trick or something
More example sentences
  • They went out, played professionally, did the business and achieved their goal, by winning the three points.
  • HIS comeback fight had been billed as ‘back to business’, but Alex Arthur could not have anticipated doing the business in quite such quick-time fashion as he achieved at Meadowbank last night.
  • Should they not sit back and retire and let the young guns do the business, enjoying the fruits of their labours and play golf for fun again?
vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse.

have no business

Have no right to do something: he had no business tampering with social services
More example sentences
  • I think Trudeau's philosophy of the government having no business in the bedrooms of this nation isn't such a bad idea.
  • Since these auto parts makers rely so heavily on such a small number of companies to sell to, they have no business but to actively involve in cutting their own throats.
  • They fail to discourage behaviour which harms others while getting more and more involved in trying to control private behaviour where they have no business to interfere.

in business

Operating, especially in commerce: they will have to import from overseas to remain in business
More example sentences
  • He said he would have remained in business if trade had continued to grow at the rate it was before the roadworks.
  • She fails to ask whether drugs companies would remain in business if they had no patents.
  • Those who cannot keep their customers happy do not deserve to remain in business.
informal Able to begin operations: if you’ll contact the right people, I should think we’re in business
More example sentences
  • Instantly on arrival at Balmoor an hour before kick-off there was evidence that this cup tie was in business.
  • Another 15 minutes of piped music, and now we're in business.
  • When you buy a PhaseOne Package we will give you a wide format printer, now you're in business!

in the business of

Engaged in or prepared to engage in: I am not in the business of making accusations
More example sentences
  • So much so that he is now engaged in the business of giving a few lessons to those in the Capital ready to explore the world of wines.
  • As far as I'm concerned we shouldn't be in the business of further feeding what are already pretty plump cats.
  • We're in the business of consciously and unconsciously changing our memories everyday.

like nobody's business

informal, chiefly British To an extraordinarily high degree or standard: these weeds spread like nobody’s business
More example sentences
  • Brenda Watson, 39, said: ‘They go through here like nobody's business.’
  • ‘On the day itself, it was raining like nobody's business,’ he said.
  • I bet I could draw jam-pots like nobody's business.

mind one's own business

Refrain from meddling in other people’s affairs.
More example sentences
  • Fortunately, not everyone minds his own business, and one day I was approached by just such a person.
  • By neighbors’ accounts, Jamie keeps quiet and minds her own business, but the board stood firm.
  • There's an older gentleman sitting next to me, seeming to be trying to mind his own business too.

send someone about their business

dated Tell someone to go away.
More example sentences
  • But Steward-of-the-Games Rutilianus sent them about their business ungarlanded, and continued the defunct Alexander in possession of his holy office.
  • They are declaimers and speechifiers, whom I will send about their business.
  • "None but them I can send about their business if you wish," replied the man.


Old English bisignis 'anxiety' (see busy, -ness); the sense 'state of being busy' was used from Middle English down to the 18th century, but is now differentiated as busyness. The use 'appointed task' dates from late Middle English, and from it all the other current senses have developed.

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