Definition of busy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbizē/

adjective (busier, busiest)

1Having a great deal to do: he had been too busy to enjoy himself there was enough work to keep two people busy
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 he was busy with preparations
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 place) full of activity.
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.
hectic, active, lively;
crowded, bustling, abuzz, swarming, teeming, full, well attended, thronged
1.3Excessively detailed or decorated; fussy: they papered the bedroom with a busy pattern of satyrs and dryads
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.
ornate, overelaborate, overblown, overwrought, overdone, fussy, cluttered, overworked
1.4chiefly 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, engaged, occupied;
working, in a meeting, on duty
informal tied up

verb (busies, busying, busied)

[with object] (busy oneself)
Keep 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, absorb, engross, immerse, preoccupy;
distract, divert



Pronunciation: /ˈbizēnəs/
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.

Words that rhyme with busy

dizzy, fizzy, frizzy, Izzy, Lizzie, tizzy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bus·y

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