Definition of business in English:

business

noun

mass noun
  • 1A person's regular occupation, profession, or trade.

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

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

    • ‘We are aboriginal women. We talk for our hunting business, ceremony business.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The transformation of ritual into commerce represents a movement of Aboriginal ''business'' into something else.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘Worse still, his acceptance speech demonstrated that he takes the whole business far too seriously.’
    • ‘Of course, the business of extramarital affairs was pretty high on the list.’
    • ‘I speak only for myself, but this particular responsible voter soon became disgusted with the whole business.’
    • ‘Evans will meet SFO detectives early next month in the hope that the whole business can be cleared up quickly.’
    • ‘But the whole business has been more rushed, and they have the added pressure of fitting in a filming schedule.’
    • ‘In a word, I have to invite the reader to come in backward upon the whole business.’
    • ‘They think we are inured to the whole business and, in any case, suffused with a boredom with the political process.’
    • ‘And soon, the whole business of confession has become polluted with falsity and madness.’
    • ‘The first thing he does is explain that electronics is incidental to the business of computation.’
    • ‘Then I can contact the Environmental Health Unit who will consider how to handle the whole business.’
    • ‘She found the whole business of arguing backward and forward about the same detail utterly boring.’
    • ‘Well, he could be right, but another scenario can be that many see the whole business as largely irrelevant.’
    • ‘Fifa, however, is showing every sign of being somewhat less than neutral about the whole business.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Visitors to the Jorvik Centre take the whole business very seriously.’
    • ‘After just a couple of days, Ashdown notes wearily, the whole business feels as if it has been dragging on for weeks.’
    • ‘The other good thing about the business is the advent of the WWE's DVD strength.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Older people especially are tempted to ignore the whole business and get on with a microchip-free life.’
    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!’
      • ‘This business of the babies brought about some of Nain Ae's darkest days.’
      • ‘You could always depend on John to come up with a decent price for farmers in what was 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.’
      • ‘I am persuaded that that company was chiefly concerned in this business.’
      • ‘There is, however, no cost implication where hyperbole is concerned in this business.’
      • ‘These days it can be a difficult business getting a pay rise or a job promotion.’
      • ‘That is putting politics above the national interest and it's a rotten business no matter who does it.’
      • ‘Selecting reading matter for the bathroom is a delicate business.’
      • ‘Then, as now, serving the Law and your conscience is a difficult business.’
      • ‘Agreeing an interview venue with Stella Tennant should be a difficult business.’
      • ‘The normal-scientific testing of an advanced theory is a difficult business.’
      • ‘None of this business of taking them to court, the hell with that.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

    • ‘When you are sending up a recognisable piece of comedy business, based on another film, is permission needed?’
    • ‘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.’
  • 6the businessBritish informal A very enjoyable or popular person or thing.

    ‘this brandy 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 track really 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.’
    • ‘This one really is the business for anyone with an entrepreneurial notion, who wants a resource on all aspects of running a business.’
  • 7rare count noun A group of ferrets.

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

Phrases

  • 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’
      • ‘When he failed to get a seconder he had to resort to raising the issue 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.’
      • ‘Under Any Other Business Ann spoke about the new proposed court, which is still in the planning stages.’
      • ‘The motion proposed was not properly before the meeting, as it had been proposed under 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.’
      • ‘Dissatisfied councillors had to forego raising matters under Any Other Business (AOB) on the agenda due to time constraints.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Under any other business, the chairman informed the meeting the village Christmas lights will switch on this year on Friday 10 December.’
      • ‘They also claim their resolutions have been ignored but will have the opportunity to raise any matters under any other 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’
      • ‘According to management, the club is undergoing renovations but is open for business as usual.’
      • ‘Does this suggest that the press is kind of inching back towards business as usual?’
      • ‘At Manchester Airport it was business as usual despite a four-day walkout by security staff.’
      • ‘He said after a meeting on Wednesday night that it would be business as usual despite the ongoing situation.’
      • ‘She says it will be business as usual once all the regulation safety checks have been done.’
      • ‘So the official line was that it will be business as usual despite the warning.’
      • ‘But it is not quite business as usual, despite the best efforts to pretend that it is.’
      • ‘The fact is that Montserrat now faces circumstances that cannot be treated like business as usual.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘But the businesses around there are not doing the business yet they used to do.’
      • ‘It is the application that really does the business while the hardware is just a platform.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like we said earlier, it certainly looks the business - but does it do the business?’
      • ‘So if Follett finds herself having to discuss the business as much as she actually does the business, her motto may come in handy.’
      • ‘When Freddie is doing the business with bat and ball, there are inevitable comparisons with Ian Botham.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This stuff certainly did the business, but it was always difficult to administer and the correct dose was hard to work out.’
      • ‘They went out, played professionally, did the business and achieved their goal, by winning the three points.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We can now get down to business after all the planning.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I will skip the pleasantries and let you get 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.’
      • ‘The election is over and it's time to get down to business.’
      • ‘We've had a break and now we've got to get down to business again.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This was the sort of voice that accosted you while you were innocently going about your business.’
      • ‘They used covert cameras and created a sequence of shots of the unsuspecting woman going about her daily business.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I worry but I don't let it interfere with my going about my daily business.’
      • ‘They were going about their business largely oblivious of the commotion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has gone about his business quietly, never once feeling the need to tell the world of his greatness.’
  • have no business

    • Have no right to do something.

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

    • 1Operating, especially in commerce.

      ‘they will have to import from overseas to remain in business’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unless the consumer sees what he desires, the business owner will not be able to stay in business.’
      • ‘But he is not in business just to manage resource, he is in business to police London in all its entirety.’
      • ‘I don't think you'd ever see me in business again if I failed in this company.’
      • ‘He said he would have remained in business if trade had continued to grow at the rate it was before the roadworks.’
      • ‘The fact that he remains in business is testimony to him being broadly right.’
      • ‘Those who cannot keep their customers happy do not deserve to remain in business.’
      • ‘She fails to ask whether drugs companies would remain in business if they had no patents.’
      • ‘Should we help to start new businesses, or only those who are already in business?’
      1. 1.1informal Able to begin operations.
        ‘if you'll contact the right people, I should think we're in business’
        • ‘Another 15 minutes of piped music, and now we're in business.’
        • ‘You've gained entry and accepted your offer - now you're in business and the work really starts.’
        • ‘So you've purchased a digital camcorder, hooked it up to your PC and now you're in business.’
        • ‘Instantly on arrival at Balmoor an hour before kick-off there was evidence that this cup tie was 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 all are in the business of food production and food preparation for the long term.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We're in the business of consciously and unconsciously changing our memories everyday.’
      • ‘If you're in the business of building software, user dissatisfaction quite simply equates to reduced sales.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such words provide comfort to those in the business of hiding money for wealthy clients.’
      • ‘As far as I'm concerned we shouldn't be in the business of further feeding what are already pretty plump cats.’
      • ‘We believe that the courts should be in the business of interpreting the law, not making it.’
      • ‘Who knows more about the business of being an entrepreneur than those in the business of farming?’
  • like nobody's business

    • informal To an extraordinarily high degree or standard.

      ‘these weeds spread 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.’
      • ‘At the moment we just can't keep up with the demand, so we're expanding like nobody's business.’
      • ‘And the woman can starch a collar 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.’
      • ‘I bet I could draw jam-pots like nobody's business.’
      • ‘I'm picking up the pace like nobody's business.’
      • ‘But he loved that thing like nobody's business.’
      • ‘‘On the day itself, it was raining like nobody's business,’ he said.’
      • ‘Brenda Watson, 39, said: ‘They go through here like nobody's business.’’
  • mean business

    • Be in earnest.

      ‘the border is sealed by troops who mean business’
      • ‘Community colleges mean business.’
      • ‘The 100 British companies that are here today are hard evidence of the fact that Britain really does mean business.’
      • ‘Google shifts focus to show it means business.’
      • ‘This team means business. We are not there to show off. We want to achieve something together.’
      • ‘Eight businesses were based in Michigan, seven in New York, nineteen in Colorado, and fifteen in Montana, showing that salmon mean business across the nation.’
  • 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’
  • 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’
      • ‘I can take care of myself, thank you very much, and technically this is none of your business.’
      • ‘"My real name is none of your damned business," she said.’
      • ‘He screamed at me that it was none of my business how he spent his money.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His personal life is none of my business, nor am I interested in it.’
      • ‘He had chosen to speak about something that is none of his business.’
      • ‘What I do is none of your business.’
      • ‘Tell your housekeeper that my behaviour is none of her business.’
      • ‘My own belief is that the board's first response should have been that the whole matter was none of its business.’
      • ‘People's sexual orientation is none of our 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.’
      • ‘They were disarmed and sent about their business.’
      • ‘"None but them I can send about their business if you wish," replied the man.’
      • ‘Servants who lingered to ask unnecessary questions were sharply sent about their business.’
      • ‘But Steward-of-the-Games Rutilianus sent them about their business ungarlanded, and continued the defunct Alexander in possession of his holy office.’

Origin

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.

Pronunciation

business

/ˈbɪznəs/