Definition of business in English:



  • 1A person's regular occupation, profession, or trade:

    ‘experts who typically conduct their business over the Internet’
    • ‘Stewart never voted for devolution - he was in Dubai on business at the time of the 1997 referendum.’
    • ‘For years, her mother travelled to London on business yet they rarely met up.’
    • ‘It claimed to offer free parking and transport to Manchester Airport for customers flying out on business or holidays.’
    • ‘As for me, I'm probably going to have visit Kiev on business some time this year.’
    • ‘When you stay in a hotel room on business and not on vacation, it's still a sort of like a vacation.’
    • ‘All three learned well and were good to their mother when their father was away on business, which he often was.’
    • ‘When I first flew to Manhattan on business I stayed in the New Yorker Hotel.’
    • ‘Darlington's owner George Reynolds was unable to be contacted today as he was in Norway on business for the next few days.’
    • ‘He told the jury that he had expected to travel north with his dad on business on that particular day in April last year.’
    • ‘He was in Europe on business and, having read about the Silver Arrow on its website, was determined to compete.’
    • ‘Zurich surveyed firms to see if they carry out risk assessments of employees before letting them drive on business.’
    • ‘When travelling away on business, always remember to pack a shaver.’
    • ‘McClung, who travels extensively on business, is eligible for major bonus points.’
    • ‘We live in better houses, we enjoy better holiday accommodation and when we go away on business we get a better deal.’
    • ‘I was seven years old, and my father had been away on business for a month.’
    • ‘He was in Japan, a guest of the Japanese consulate on business in his other profession as writer and journalist.’
    • ‘The Prospective Group carried on business in promotion and market consultancy.’
    • ‘When travelling on business, always pack an extra change of clothes.’
    • ‘Electors can appoint a proxy if they are unable to vote themselves, if they are out of the country on holiday or on business or in the armed forces.’
    • ‘Ashraf regularly flew to Pakistan from Glasgow airport on business.’
    work, line of work, line, occupation, profession, career, employment, job, day job, position, pursuit, vocation, calling, field, sphere, walk of life, trade, craft
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An activity that someone is engaged in:
      ‘what is your business here?’
      • ‘Agencies of the state, in the course of their business, are required to keep a running record of their areas of activity.’
      • ‘Nor was this the only business in which Bevan engaged in the course of that year.’
      • ‘It just seems to fly in the face of the way we do business as law enforcement officers.’
      • ‘The liberal view was that religion was a private matter; it was not the business of the state to enforce a particular creed.’
      • ‘All of an auctioneer's business requires the trust and goodwill of the public.’
      • ‘Brousse gave the impression of being a man in charge of his business.’
      • ‘Investment trusts are companies whose business it is to make money from investments.’
      • ‘In my business the less you worry about making money the more likely you are to make it.’
      • ‘I really do not think it is the business of retailers to have control over editorial content of magazines.’
      • ‘What the Business Committee does is its business, but it is a relatively informal arrangement.’
      • ‘Her fortnight in the city passed quickly, a whirl of business and unavoidable social engagements.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This should help to filter the heavy volumes when schools resume business in September.’
      • ‘The real answer is for the Government to protect the post offices' core business.’
    2. 1.2 A person's concern:
      ‘it's not my business to interfere’
      ‘the neighbours make it their business to know all about you’
      • ‘I did some other things that were on the list but those are none of your business.’
      • ‘One of the ballet mothers has her nose in everyone's business no matter how personal it is.’
      • ‘One of he things we forget is that what people think of us is none of our business.’
      • ‘My colleagues laugh at you, and people walk past as if you're none of their business.’
      • ‘We, as a society, cannot afford to turn our heads and claim it is none of our business.’
      • ‘They all started to scold me for something which was totally none of their business.’
      • ‘One of its aims is to help staff appreciate when problems they notice are private and none of their business or ours.’
      • ‘It's none of my business and if you ask me, stuff like that is meant to be secret.’
      • ‘It's none of your business what goes on in the bedrooms of consenting adults.’
      • ‘It's none of our business to control what the NCC thinks or says about politics.’
      • ‘I'm not an American and I'm not a Republican so in a way it is none of my business.’
      • ‘He was about to tell him off, to tell him that what went on between him and Xavier was none of his business.’
      • ‘If he does not manage to get his work done by a certain time, it is his own incompetence and none of my business.’
      • ‘Yes, but there is a whole bunch of people sitting at home saying it's none of my business.’
      • ‘Whatever was going to happen after they did their job was none of their business.’
      • ‘I know that his personal well-being is none of my business, but somehow it's hard not to worry about Harry.’
      • ‘To be told as you have been that it's none of your business is ridiculous.’
      • ‘The police may be there to uphold the law, but our personal beliefs are none of their business.’
      • ‘The location is a farm in deepest Pennsylvania, the season is summer and the year is none of your business.’
      • ‘Internal church or other religious affairs are simply no business whatsoever of any government.’
      concern, affair, responsibility, province, preserve, duty, function, task, assignment, obligation, problem, worry, lookout
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Work that has to be done or matters that have to be attended to:
      ‘government business’
      ‘let's get down to business’
      • ‘For six months, he attended to farm business, only playing rugby for Scotland.’
      • ‘It is also about the Post Office seeking to generate new business for itself.’
      • ‘Father had a little bit of business to attend to so I spent two nights at the inn.’
      • ‘After giving up that business they attended a number of courses lasting from one to three days.’
      • ‘Mr Crausby blamed changes to the benefits payment system for the decline of day-to-day post office business.’
      • ‘Nor was it a case of being called away to attend to urgent state business in Brussels.’
      • ‘If you have no serious business to attend to the next day, i strongly advise you give this stuff a try.’
      • ‘Be that as it may, one can't help but wonder why Montserrat does not attend to its own business.’
      • ‘This year however she returned to school late due to business she had to attend back home.’
      • ‘Balloonist Rick Walczak plans to attend to some unfinished business in the next few weeks.’
      • ‘See, Graham is attending to some unfinished business, and helping some friends out at the same time.’
      • ‘Reluctantly, they did, leaving me to attend to some unfinished business.’
      • ‘The participants in the competition went about their business quite as a matter of fact.’
      • ‘On Monday he took his son to his first day at school, and so yesterday was delayed in an office elsewhere by leftover business.’
      • ‘We simply have more important business to attend to right now than nursing an old grudge.’
      • ‘She wrote a quick note saying she was sorry and that she had some business to attend to.’
      • ‘We were then told we could use the post office for routine business.’
      • ‘Oh, may the workday pass quickly as there is serious business to attend to this evening.’
      • ‘This means I have to go out tomorrow to attend to my business, whether I like it or not.’
      • ‘Calcavecchia has had unfinished business to attend to in the transatlantic challenge for some time.’
  • 2Commercial activity:

    ‘firms who want to do business with Japan’
    ‘the tea business’
    [as modifier] ‘the business community’
    • ‘We need to remove some of that regulation which is impacting on business.’
    • ‘But such extra burdens hardly help business, which now needs to lobby for joined-up tax reform.’
    • ‘Business representatives heard that demands on business have never been higher.’
    • ‘But he is not impressed by the track record of the Scottish parliament on business.’
    • ‘Over half the stock required repairs and business would be effected for weeks, Mr Nicholls said.’
    • ‘Then there's Lord Haskin's task force, attempting to reduce the burden of regulation on business.’
    • ‘Narang's experience in managing business came in handy for his new assignment.’
    • ‘Warlords enjoy a situation of anarchy in which they can threaten the local population and engage in illegal business.’
    • ‘So then what of the world of business, trade, professions, academia and research?’
    • ‘He believed it would have an adverse affect on business and trade in the community.’
    • ‘Promising to give prizes or bonuses on business trading without permit is subject to a penalty of up to one year.’
    • ‘The Government wants to enhance the capability of polytechs to engage with business and industry.’
    • ‘It would appear that new legislation regarding the payment of accounts has had no real effect on business.’
    • ‘I am going to be away just for one day and it would have been nice to add on some social activity with the business.’
    • ‘As a market trader I understand business and running the town would require a sense of business.’
    • ‘He cites the response of business to environmental concerns over the past decade.’
    • ‘He did not engage in any business activities outside of his employment duties with the defendant.’
    • ‘The Minister for Sport appears to be driven by business rather than sporting concerns.’
    • ‘He cannot recall if the Trust was ever engaged in any business or ever lent money.’
    • ‘He believed it would have adverse effect on business and trade in the community.’
    trade, trading, commerce, buying and selling, dealing, traffic, trafficking, marketing, merchandising, bargaining
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Trade considered in terms of its volume or profitability:
      ‘how's business?’
      ‘the banks are continuing to lose business’
      • ‘Although it may make good business in the short term it will ultimately cost in the long term.’
      • ‘The bush telegraph has never made so much money; telecomms deregulation has no effect on volume business.’
      • ‘In business terms this club would bankrupt with them and O'Riordan at the helm.’
      • ‘Can you imagine automatically giving the Best Picture Oscar to the film that did the most business at the box office?’
      • ‘The carnage had a huge cost in terms of lost business, but it worked wonders for the bottom line.’
      • ‘Insiders denied the Midland was losing business in the increasingly competitive luxury hotel market.’
      • ‘What is particularly striking is the bounce in expectations concerning future business.’
      • ‘They are competing in terms of business but will join together when it will help to bring about benefits for retail across the board.’
      • ‘The company hopes the deal will lead to new business in the medium term.’
      • ‘Ahead of the opening of European markets traders were divided over the likely volume of business.’
      • ‘People were late for work, meetings were delayed, funerals were missed and business was affected.’
      • ‘It believes there are too many post offices for too little business.’
      • ‘My concern is that business is now very slow and I would like to build it back up.’
      • ‘Both wore the aura of violent gang life and that meant good box office business.’
      • ‘It seemed a daft idea and the film did indifferent business at the box office.’
      • ‘In a desperate attempt to boost business, Scott commissions Hayley to create some rather snazzy pamphlets.’
      • ‘Getting higher volumes of business at lunchtime is another priority.’
      • ‘According to several designers this has been one of the best fashion weeks in terms of business.’
      • ‘If this is the normal volume of business, can this venture be viable?’
      • ‘Liberal Democrat Andrew Waller said plans were in hand for York council to push more business to post offices.’
    2. 2.2[count noun] A commercial operation or company:
      ‘a catering business’
      • ‘New Labour prefers to give state money to private businesses to run public services.’
      • ‘We would urge anyone seeking a loan to be wary of any business which requires an advance fee to be paid by money transfer to secure a loan.’
      • ‘He was in charge of his family business, a mining company with no interest in politics.’
      • ‘Training people to provide quality services costs, but that should be going on in any business as a matter of course.’
      • ‘Several rival operators have put their businesses on the market in the hope of cashing in.’
      • ‘The business he took charge of three decades ago was a small family-owned publisher of four local papers.’
      • ‘As far as my dreams for our business are concerned, it's a case of what will be will be.’
      • ‘With conventional companies receivers attempt to preserve or sell the business as a going concern.’
      • ‘A city is composed of units too, people and houses and businesses and all the rest.’
      • ‘Transitory relief on business rates bills hide the real cost in future years.’
      • ‘He says it has made inroads into niche markets and scores highly on business banking, wealth management and mortgages.’
      • ‘As far as our business is concerned, he said that the money he owes us will be paid by Christmas.’
      • ‘Like any other business the Post Office must move with the times and respond to customer pressures.’
      • ‘From that time he has managed and run his business from Hong Kong where his principal activity is in shipping.’
      • ‘But business owners are more concerned about the time it takes just to keep up to date and comply with the new rules.’
      • ‘Now ATS employs more than 110 staff, of which about half are engaged in the retail business.’
      • ‘A shop owner who does not attend could see his business shut down for days.’
      • ‘It is not a satisfactory way of proceeding as far as our business is concerned.’
      • ‘In a surprise move Aberdeen will keep the tarnished Edinburgh brand alive in a bid to retain its investment trust business.’
      • ‘As a matter of course, business owners protect themselves against health problems and loss of income.’
      firm, company, concern, enterprise, venture, organization, operation, undertaking, industry, corporation, establishment, house, shop, office, bureau, agency, franchise, practice, partnership, consortium, cooperative, conglomerate, group, combine, syndicate
      View synonyms
  • 3Australian (in Aboriginal English) traditional law and ritual.

    • ‘The transformation of ritual into commerce represents a movement of Aboriginal ''business'' into something else.’
    • ‘He worked there for about twenty years except for short breaks to carry out tribal business.’
    • ‘Ready access to a reliable source of food made the mission a valuable meeting place for traditional business.’
    • ‘We are aboriginal women. We talk for our hunting business, ceremony business.’
    • ‘We want the right to perform business and law of significance to our culture.’
  • 4informal [in singular] A situation or series of events, typically a scandalous or discreditable one:

    ‘maybe something positive will come out of the whole awful business’
    • ‘Well, he could be right, but another scenario can be that many see the whole business as largely irrelevant.’
    • ‘Evans will meet SFO detectives early next month in the hope that the whole business can be cleared up quickly.’
    • ‘They think we are inured to the whole business and, in any case, suffused with a boredom with the political process.’
    • ‘Then I can contact the Environmental Health Unit who will consider how to handle the whole business.’
    • ‘Of course, the business of extramarital affairs was pretty high on the list.’
    • ‘You see I'm no lawyer, but I happen to know that the business of court cases is a process.’
    • ‘What happened to the business about his taking the Viscount's passports?’
    • ‘And soon, the whole business of confession has become polluted with falsity and madness.’
    • ‘After just a couple of days, Ashdown notes wearily, the whole business feels as if it has been dragging on for weeks.’
    • ‘Older people especially are tempted to ignore the whole business and get on with a microchip-free life.’
    • ‘She found the whole business of arguing backward and forward about the same detail utterly boring.’
    • ‘In a word, I have to invite the reader to come in backward upon the whole business.’
    • ‘The other good thing about the business is the advent of the WWE's DVD strength.’
    • ‘But the whole business has been more rushed, and they have the added pressure of fitting in a filming schedule.’
    • ‘Worse still, his acceptance speech demonstrated that he takes the whole business far too seriously.’
    • ‘Very quickly it all began to get out of hand and we came to a group decision that it was time to knock the whole business on the head and take up some new enthusiasm.’
    • ‘Fifa, however, is showing every sign of being somewhat less than neutral about the whole business.’
    • ‘I speak only for myself, but this particular responsible voter soon became disgusted with the whole business.’
    • ‘Visitors to the Jorvik Centre take the whole business very seriously.’
    • ‘The first thing he does is explain that electronics is incidental to the business of computation.’
    affair, matter, thing, issue, case, set of circumstances, circumstance, situation, occasion, experience, event, incident, happening, occurrence, phenomenon, eventuality, episode, interlude, adventure
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 A difficult matter:
      ‘what a business!’
      • ‘I am persuaded that that company was chiefly concerned in this business.’
      • ‘The normal-scientific testing of an advanced theory is a difficult business.’
      • ‘Agreeing an interview venue with Stella Tennant should be a difficult business.’
      • ‘The business of growing up may be difficult enough but even when it is over, life as a sports celebrity does not get any easier.’
      • ‘This business of the babies brought about some of Nain Ae's darkest days.’
      • ‘Then, as now, serving the Law and your conscience is a difficult business.’
      • ‘Aside from the matter of being dead, there is the messy business of dirty linen.’
      • ‘Those are the things we have to worry about, and those are the things that make it such a difficult business.’
      • ‘That is putting politics above the national interest and it's a rotten business no matter who does it.’
      • ‘It is true that prediction is a difficult business, especially when it involves the future.’
      • ‘Which is a bit like discussing childbirth while skirting around the difficult business of mothers.’
      • ‘I saw it described once as the difficult business of telling stories to rich people and that's certainly one way of looking at it.’
      • ‘You could always depend on John to come up with a decent price for farmers in what was a difficult business.’
      • ‘These days it can be a difficult business getting a pay rise or a job promotion.’
      • ‘Selecting reading matter for the bathroom is a delicate business.’
      • ‘Analysing the current figures is a difficult business, not least because they are rising every day.’
      • ‘We sympathise with people who have difficulty finding tenants but speculative building is still a risky business.’
      • ‘There is, however, no cost implication where hyperbole is concerned in this business.’
      • ‘None of this business of taking them to court, the hell with that.’
      matter, matter in question, affair, subject, topic, question, point, point at issue, item, thing, case, concern, theme
      View synonyms
  • 5theatrical slang Actions on stage other than dialogue.

    • ‘Like Marmite, you either savour this daft stage business or you wish its energy was never let out of the jar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When you are sending up a recognisable piece of comedy business, based on another film, is permission needed?’
  • 6the businessBritish informal A very enjoyable or popular person or thing:

    ‘this brandy is the business’
    • ‘These heavy duty mobile field shelters really are the business when it comes to housing your horse or pony.’
    • ‘Like we've said - our Business Premier Class really is The Business.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘This one really is the business for anyone with an entrepreneurial notion, who wants a resource on all aspects of running a business.’
    • ‘This track really is the business.’
  • 7rare [count noun] A group of ferrets:

    ‘his goons will go through the ship like a business of ferrets’
    • ‘It's a "business of ferrets", according to my coworker, and no comment on whether or not this is kind to businessmen.’
    • ‘A vasectomized ferret gives the responsible ferret keeper the opportunity to maintain a busyness of ferrets without the unending production of kids.’
    • ‘During that year he fed his business of ferrets exclusively on a diet of dead rats.’
    • ‘He was on the Thames headed seaward in company with two ponies and a business of ferrets.’
    • ‘There were currently two ferrets in Herbert's business.’


  • any other business

    • Matters not listed on the agenda of a meeting, raised after the items on the agenda have been discussed:

      ‘the head teacher deliberately retained the item for any other business’
      • ‘The issue was expected to be contentious but the debate lasted just five minutes and was raised under Any Other Business at a meeting.’
      • ‘Under any other business, the chairman informed the meeting the village Christmas lights will switch on this year on Friday 10 December.’
      • ‘However the main body of the meeting was taken up with items under Any Other Business.’
      • ‘Chairman: I am happy the issues raised today can be discussed under any other business.’
      • ‘The motion proposed was not properly before the meeting, as it had been proposed under any other business.’
      • ‘This has been brought up by councillors under Any Other Business at their meetings at least 20 times and has featured on meeting agendas on six occasions.’
      • ‘Under Any Other Business Ann spoke about the new proposed court, which is still in the planning stages.’
      • ‘Dissatisfied councillors had to forego raising matters under Any Other Business (AOB) on the agenda due to time constraints.’
      • ‘When he failed to get a seconder he had to resort to raising the issue under "Any Other Business".’
      • ‘They also claim their resolutions have been ignored but will have the opportunity to raise any matters under any other business.’
      • ‘Any other business: it would seem to be time to admit that my turnout forecast for the elections was hopelessly wrong.’
  • 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’
      • ‘The fact is that Montserrat now faces circumstances that cannot be treated like business as usual.’
      • ‘At Manchester Airport it was business as usual despite a four-day walkout by security staff.’
      • ‘So the official line was that it will be business as usual despite the warning.’
      • ‘According to management, the club is undergoing renovations but is open for business as usual.’
      • ‘But it is not quite business as usual, despite the best efforts to pretend that it is.’
      • ‘We can give in to inertia, even just the inertia of routine and business as usual.’
      • ‘Regardless of the outcome, it is difficult to envisage the resumption of business as usual afterwards.’
      • ‘She says it will be business as usual once all the regulation safety checks have been done.’
      • ‘He said after a meeting on Wednesday night that it would be business as usual despite the ongoing situation.’
      • ‘Does this suggest that the press is kind of inching back towards business as usual?’
      a normal state of affairs, business as usual, the daily round, routine, a normal pattern, order, regularity
      View synonyms
  • do the business

    • 1informal Do what is required or achieve the desired result:

      ‘Rogers has got to do the business, score a hat trick or something’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This stuff certainly did the business, but it was always difficult to administer and the correct dose was hard to work out.’
      • ‘I think that they were hoping that their two inside forwards would do the business for them and when that did not succeed they were totally bereft of ideas.’
      • ‘But the businesses around there are not doing the business yet they used to do.’
      • ‘Neil argues that any paper wanting to make its way in Scotland will need ‘very strong elbows indeed’ and claims that this one will never have the muscle to do the business.’
      • ‘It's a bit of a headache because he wants the ball all over the place, but if we can work hard and just give him the ball, he can do the business for us.’
      • ‘Eight of the team play their club football in France and know the business, but in the end doing the business against the French team was another matter.’
      • ‘It is the application that really does the business while the hardware is just a platform.’
      • ‘They went out, played professionally, did the business and achieved their goal, by winning the three points.’
      • ‘So if Follett finds herself having to discuss the business as much as she actually does the business, her motto may come in handy.’
      • ‘Like we said earlier, it certainly looks the business - but does it do the business?’
      • ‘When Freddie is doing the business with bat and ball, there are inevitable comparisons with Ian Botham.’
      • ‘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?’
      take effect, have an effect, be effective, be efficacious, work, function, act, have results, take hold
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse.
  • get down to business

    • Begin matters in earnest:

      ‘the manager appeared and we got down to business’
      • ‘I will skip the pleasantries and let you get down to business.’
      • ‘We've had a break and now we've got to get down to business again.’
      • ‘The mayor recently got down to business outlining the Council's plans to boost economic and social development.’
      • ‘The leaders spoke briefly with reporters before they got down to business.’
      • ‘That would be a good time for them to give their highly public differences a rest and get down to business.’
      • ‘There will be three other documents before I finally get down to business.’
      • ‘I recognized beyond any shadow of a doubt that I had to marry this woman, though it took me a few months to actually get down to business.’
      • ‘We can now get down to business after all the planning.’
      • ‘The election is over and it's time to get down to business.’
      • ‘Whether you are talking to a bank teller or visiting a friend, it is considered rude not to engage in a proper greeting before getting down to business.’
  • go about one's business

    • Occupy oneself with one's normal activities or routine:

      ‘she's one of those people who quietly goes about her business’
      • ‘Both individuals and companies should be free to choose how we go about our business and conduct our lives.’
      • ‘They used covert cameras and created a sequence of shots of the unsuspecting woman going about her daily business.’
      • ‘He has gone about his business quietly, never once feeling the need to tell the world of his greatness.’
      • ‘I worry but I don't let it interfere with my going about my daily business.’
      • ‘It's quite quiet—people are going about their business, but the usual buzz of tourist activity has slackened a bit.’
      • ‘He was driving a very short distance and just going about his everyday business.’
      • ‘This was the sort of voice that accosted you while you were innocently going about your business.’
      • ‘These "supporters" have in recent years been involved in violent attacks on people trying to go about their normal business.’
      • ‘This was a seemingly unprovoked attack on an innocent person going about his business in the bus station.’
      • ‘They were going about their business largely oblivious of the commotion.’
      • ‘Occasionally he climbed the belfry to inspect the faulty bell, and then he was able to look down on the whole village as it went about its business.’
  • have no business

    • Have no right to do something:

      ‘he had no business tampering with social services’
      • ‘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 fact, Congress has specifically said that federal courts have no business in probate issues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If some people eat meat, animal lovers have no business to object.’
      • ‘There are certain areas where courts and bureaucrats have no business.’
      • ‘Children whose parents are still alive should have no business on the streets.’
      • ‘The Supreme Court reaffirmed its position that corporations have no business in our elections trying to influence our vote.’
      • ‘There are those who say that religionists have no business in politics.’
      • ‘I have no business with anything that is in a customer's pocket.’
  • in business

    • 1Operating, especially in commerce:

      ‘they will have to import from overseas to remain in business’
      • ‘Unless the consumer sees what he desires, the business owner will not be able to stay in business.’
      • ‘She fails to ask whether drugs companies would remain in business if they had no patents.’
      • ‘He said he would have remained in business if trade had continued to grow at the rate it was before the roadworks.’
      • ‘I don't think you'd ever see me in business again if I failed in this company.’
      • ‘Should we help to start new businesses, or only those who are already in business?’
      • ‘But he is not in business just to manage resource, he is in business to police London in all its entirety.’
      • ‘The fact that he remains in business is testimony to him being broadly right.’
      • ‘It's hard to imagine the service remaining in business as we know it in either case.’
      • ‘He might not be able to save your sodden carpets or your fire-damaged stock, but he will be able to keep you in business.’
      • ‘Those who cannot keep their customers happy do not deserve to remain in business.’
      1. 1.1informal Able to begin operations:
        ‘if you'll contact the right people, I should think we're in business’
        • ‘You've gained entry and accepted your offer - now you're in business and the work really starts.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘So you've purchased a digital camcorder, hooked it up to your PC and now you'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’
      • ‘We're in the business of consciously and unconsciously changing our memories everyday.’
      • ‘We all are in the business of food production and food preparation for the long term.’
      • ‘Who knows more about the business of being an entrepreneur than those in the business of farming?’
      • ‘They're in the business of managing the media and they get all the information they can.’
      • ‘They are not in the business of plundering the past, they are in the business of rescuing large lumps of history from the wrecking ball.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We believe that the courts should be in the business of interpreting the law, not making it.’
      • ‘If you're in the business of building software, user dissatisfaction quite simply equates to reduced sales.’
      • ‘As far as I'm concerned we shouldn't be in the business of further feeding what are already pretty plump cats.’
      • ‘Such words provide comfort to those in the business of hiding money for wealthy clients.’
  • like nobody's business

    • informal To an extraordinarily high degree or standard:

      ‘these weeds spread like nobody's business’
      • ‘Brenda Watson, 39, said: ‘They go through here like nobody's business.’’
      • ‘But he loved that thing like nobody's business.’
      • ‘The land is chalky too, which makes those grapes bubble like nobody's business.’
      • ‘They're giving stuff away like nobody's business.’
      • ‘It's dense, too, so even though I breeze through most books like nobody's business, I'm not doing that on this one, and that's a good thing, a good feeling.’
      • ‘And the woman can starch a collar like nobody's business.’
      • ‘I'm picking up the pace 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.’
      • ‘At the moment we just can't keep up with the demand, so we're expanding like nobody's business.’
  • mind one's own business

    • Refrain from prying or interfering:

      ‘I asked her if he'd come home and she told me to mind my own business’
      • ‘He told her to be silent and mind her own business.’
      • ‘I asked him once if that was true, if he really was once a royal guard but he scolded me and told me to mind my own business.’
    • Refrain from meddling in other people's affairs.

      • ‘Fortunately, not everyone minds his own business, and one day I was approached by just such a person.’
      • ‘‘Nicole usually minds her own business, but she made an exception in this case.’’
      • ‘There's an older gentleman sitting next to me, seeming to be trying to mind his own business too.’
      • ‘We are a commercial republic of free citizens who, on the whole, prefer to mind our own business.’
      • ‘Mya definitely thought something was up, but Darnell thought his wife needed to mind her own business.’
      • ‘By neighbors’ accounts, Jamie keeps quiet and minds her own business, but the board stood firm.’
      • ‘Unlike the other women in the town, Maudie minds her own business and behaves without pretension or hypocrisy.’
      • ‘His statement should be vehemently condemned by all, and he should be asked to mind his own business.’
      • ‘He is not, technically, ‘poor’ or ‘weak, he minds his own business, and makes no complaint.’’
      • ‘Now, the correct response to that comment might have been a stern rejoinder to mind her own business.’
  • be none of one's business

    • Not be of direct relevance or concern to one:

      ‘their finances are none of your business’
      ‘what goes on between Gabriel and me is none of your business’
      • ‘The principle was essentially that if other people were different, then this was none of your business so long as they kept their nose out of yours.’
      • ‘He screamed at me that it was none of my business how he spent his money.’
      • ‘He had chosen to speak about something that is none of his business.’
      • ‘His personal life is none of my business, nor am I interested in it.’
      • ‘I can take care of myself, thank you very much, and technically this is none of your business.’
      • ‘My own belief is that the board's first response should have been that the whole matter was none of its business.’
      • ‘"My real name is none of your damned business," she said.’
      • ‘What I do is none of your business.’
      • ‘People's sexual orientation is none of our business.’
      • ‘Tell your housekeeper that my behaviour is none of her business.’
      • ‘I admit the whole situation is interesting, but it is really none of our business.’
  • send someone about their business

    • dated Tell someone to go away.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But Steward-of-the-Games Rutilianus sent them about their business ungarlanded, and continued the defunct Alexander in possession of his holy office.’
      • ‘They were disarmed and sent about their business.’
      • ‘Servants who lingered to ask unnecessary questions were sharply sent about their business.’


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.