Definition of busy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbɪzi/

adjective (busier, busiest)

1Having a great deal to do: he had been too busy to enjoy himself
More example sentences
  • The Prime Minister is indeed a very busy man, negotiating deals on behalf of Australia and the Australian people.
  • Bunclody fire service is being kept very busy at the moment dealing with chimney fires, but no tragedies have taken place.
  • They were obviously too busy to deal with their numerous, silly questions.
1.1Occupied with or concentrating on a particular activity or object of attention: the team members are busy raising money
More example sentences
  • The company is also busy hammering out deals with content producers.
  • The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is busy brokering a back-room deal.
  • They are too busy negotiating film deals in Hollywood and consulting on theatrical adaptations.
1.2(Of a time or place) full of activity: the busy city streets I’ve had a busy day
More example sentences
  • As it was, the explosion was centered in a very busy marketplace full of book sellers and street merchants.
  • We live in a busy world full of fear and isolation.
  • He bowed, took a step, and vanished into a busy street full of pedestrians.
strenuous, hectic, energetic, active, lively, exacting, tiring, full, eventful
crowded, bustling, swarming, teeming, astir, buzzing, hectic, full, thronged, thronging, lively, vibrant
informal buzzy
1.3chiefly North American (Of a telephone line) engaged.
Example sentences
  • I pick up the phone and dial his number to tell him, but his line is busy.
  • So instead she tried dialing Montgomery home but the line was busy.
  • I tried phoning the house a couple of times, but the line was busy, Billy's sister was probably using it.
unavailable, otherwise engaged;
engaged, occupied, in a meeting, working, at work, on duty, on active service, in harness
informal tied up
(be busy) have a prior/previous engagement
2Excessively detailed or decorated: the lavish set designs are a little too busy
More example sentences
  • In the shop, we found a fluffy, long skirt with a busy paisley pattern on it.
  • There's no doubt about it, plaid, like any other busy pattern, can put on the illusion of girth.
  • He opened it, the first page emblazoned with flashy colours and busy patterns.
excessively ornate, over-ornate, over-elaborate, over-embellished, overdecorated, overblown, overripe, overwrought, exaggerated, overdone, florid, fussy, cluttered, contrived, overworked, over-detailed, strained, laboured, baroque, rococo
British informal like Piccadilly Circus

verb (busies, busying, busied)

(busy oneself)
Keep oneself occupied: she busied herself with her new home
More example sentences
  • Moreover, one can busy oneself almost endlessly in talking about measurement and assessment.
  • I note the time and busy myself making a pot of tea to keep my mind occupied until the 3-minute mark.
  • Too often we busy ourselves with petty distractions, in order to escape the confrontation with reality.
occupy, involve, engage, concern, employ, absorb, engross, immerse, preoccupy;
interest, entertain, distract, divert, amuse, beguile


(also bizzy) (plural busies or bizzies) British informal
A police officer: I was picked up by the busies for possession
More example sentences
  • The bizzies just stick up for them, minute they're there they're around them.
  • And, when the bizzies sped round to the Close one last time, nobody had seen a thing, honest.
  • The bizzies took him away because they said he was illegal but they gave me him back after two days.


get busy

1Begin work or tasks that need to be done: this meeting is dismissed—let’s get busy, people
More example sentences
  • Now with your second chance, you can get busy.
  • You're right, I need to get busy or I'll get nothing done.
  • Unions leaders need to get busy getting their act together, too.
2 informal Have sexual intercourse.
Example sentences
  • The film opens with a handful of high school kids, getting busy in the back seats of their cars.
  • I've never met a girl who could resist being alone with him and they didn't get busy.
  • John and I got busy just that afternoon when everyone was out.



Pronunciation: /ˈbɪzɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • Activity and busyness make me feel that I am vitally alive.
  • We wanted our products to speak for themselves and hid behind our busyness.
  • Paisley is a very bold, compassionless thing that should not be taken lightly - and certainly not with a skirt of competing busyness that sort of looks like a domestic accident.


Old English bisgian (verb), bisig (noun); related to Dutch bezig, of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with busy

dizzy, fizzy, frizzy, Izzy, Lizzie, tizzy

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: busy

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