Definition of busy in English:



  • 1Having a great deal to do.

    ‘he had been too busy to enjoy himself’
    • ‘They are busy professionals who enjoy a high quality lifestyle and little leisure time.’
    • ‘However, Paul Butler is never too busy to stop and enjoy the simple pleasure of gazing into the distance at dusk.’
    • ‘It's an extremely popular site with residents and in the summer months, busy staff deal with over 1,500 visitors a day.’
    • ‘It seemed easier to avoid and ignore when I had the excuse that school kept me too busy to deal with it.’
    • ‘The staff were so caring, but so busy and hard worked.’
    • ‘Part of the defence was that for five years the authority was too busy to deal with health and safety issues surrounding water rescues.’
    • ‘By now something of a giant himself, Haynes remains a dynamic performer and busy tourer.’
    • ‘The railways are also set to be busy, with special deals for passengers willing to travel off-peak and book in advance.’
    • ‘The East Coast resorts reported a good summer season, and, despite the problems, York has enjoyed a busy run-up to Christmas.’
    • ‘When the phone is eventually answered, I'm politely told that, because they're so busy, they can't deal with any queries.’
    • ‘They were obviously too busy to deal with their numerous, silly questions.’
    • ‘Even if they can be found not at a meeting they're just too busy to deal with anything other than a huge problem.’
    • ‘They are well connected, ambitious, dynamic and terrifyingly busy.’
    • ‘PC Tony Himycz has had a busy time dealing with juvenile nuisance lately.’
    • ‘I was in a school today briefly, delivering some plants, and all the classes sounded so busy in a very productive way.’
    • ‘The Prime Minister is indeed a very busy man, negotiating deals on behalf of Australia and the Australian people.’
    • ‘They know how we won the last one; I kept the real threat busy while Kit dealt with the cannon fodder.’
    • ‘Bunclody fire service is being kept very busy at the moment dealing with chimney fires, but no tragedies have taken place.’
    • ‘This ensures busy travellers can enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee while finishing an urgent report or even catching up on their e-mails.’
    • ‘What's wrong with our lives when the season of a boy being born in a manger keeps us too busy to enjoy each other's company.’
    occupied, occupied in, engaged in, involved in, employed in, working at, labouring at, toiling at, slaving at, hard at work, hard at work on, wrapped up, wrapped up in, wrapped up with
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    1. 1.1 Occupied with or concentrating on a particular activity or object of attention.
      ‘the team members are busy raising money’
      • ‘He added that the Council's planning staff were quite busy dealing both with applications and queries from the public.’
      • ‘They'll be too busy enjoying the dry wit and chummy storytelling that has established Strong's enthusiastic following.’
      • ‘You are so busy enjoying them because they are brisk and witty that you fail to notice until much later that the whole thing doesn't add up.’
      • ‘They are too busy negotiating film deals in Hollywood and consulting on theatrical adaptations.’
      • ‘The company is also busy hammering out deals with content producers.’
      • ‘They love their jobs, they take their pets to work, they're young and hip and they're far too busy enjoying their jobs to take holidays.’
      • ‘It was a lazy day and everyone was busy simply enjoying the peace.’
      • ‘Mom didn't either; she was too busy enjoying the happiness of acting like a teen again.’
      • ‘The women on the other boats were usually too busy being harangued to enjoy themselves.’
      • ‘Is it to make up for the things we went without, or is it our guilt about the fact that we are too busy enjoying ourselves to devote time to them?’
      • ‘He was carefully maneuvering around to keep his weight off of me, but I was too busy enjoying the closeness to notice.’
      • ‘With only a few days to go to Christmas, everybody is busy getting ready to enjoy this season of peace and goodwill to all men.’
      • ‘They were both unsure of what to say to each other and were mostly busy in dealing with injuries.’
      • ‘Children may be busy enjoying their summer holidays but there is still hard work in progress at Nelson School.’
      • ‘My partner ordered something else, but to be honest I was too busy enjoying my meal to remember what it was.’
      • ‘Tal made his way into the town, admiring the plain folk who were too busy enjoying their simple lives to notice them.’
      • ‘The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is busy brokering a back-room deal.’
      • ‘Slowly she got behind him, glad that he was too busy pondering his conscience and enjoying the ocean to notice her.’
      • ‘She is now busy preparing to enjoy the latest anniversary.’
      • ‘On Sunday, you were just too busy enjoying the sun and hanging with friends to make your meals for the week.’
      occupied, occupied in, engaged in, involved in, employed in, working at, labouring at, toiling at, slaving at, hard at work, hard at work on, wrapped up, wrapped up in, wrapped up with
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    2. 1.2 (of a time or place) full of activity.
      ‘the busy city streets’
      ‘I've had a busy day’
      • ‘I have the same problem with Yahoo - I just find it difficult and mind-threatening to deal with the busy pages.’
      • ‘Local people enjoyed a busy fun day at the opening celebration with games and stalls and Mr Shepherd stepped in to officiate at the launch.’
      • ‘He bowed, took a step, and vanished into a busy street full of pedestrians.’
      • ‘Athy and District Angling Club have enjoyed a busy Summer having held a number of successful competitions.’
      • ‘Hulse will be the first to put pen to paper but other arrivals are expected and there will be departures too as Blackwell wheels and deals during a busy summer.’
      • ‘A fiercely independent man, he lived at home and enjoyed a busy retirement until shortly before his death.’
      • ‘The outlet, which also includes a service area, commenced trading more than a week ago and is enjoying a very busy trade.’
      • ‘The world's biggest country is having a busy time dealing with the Internet explosion.’
      • ‘The course was presented well and happily is enjoying busy days.’
      • ‘The thatched bar, nestled in a tiny village of about 12 houses, has already enjoyed a busy year.’
      • ‘As it was, the explosion was centered in a very busy marketplace full of book sellers and street merchants.’
      • ‘Keeping a steady presence at busy corners is important, because much of the customer base is not from around here.’
      • ‘Before long, the duo were sprinting full pace down the busy streets of dawn.’
      • ‘There is a busy agenda to be dealt with on the night including putting plans in motion for next season and the election of officers and committee.’
      • ‘He will somehow find time from his busy schedule to enjoy his golf.’
      • ‘The Guides and Brownies have enjoyed a busy year and raised funds for the tsunami relief and children overseas.’
      • ‘It's a busy room, full of warm, bustling bodies, some furry, some not.’
      • ‘Castlebar Active Retirement group have been enjoying a very busy and varied schedule over recent months.’
      • ‘We live in a busy world full of fear and isolation.’
      • ‘Traders enjoyed a busy day of selling and bargaining with terrific interest shown by the public.’
      strenuous, hectic, energetic, active, lively, exacting, tiring, full, eventful
      crowded, bustling, swarming, teeming, astir, buzzing, hectic, full, thronged, thronging, lively, vibrant
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    3. 1.3North American (of a telephone line) engaged.
      • ‘Simms said she had not been able to contact her family and friends in London because the phone lines were busy.’
      • ‘The line was busy so he hung up and handed the phone back to the woman.’
      • ‘I tried calling again but the operator lady person said that the line was busy.’
      • ‘Megan's house was the closest, but when she called, the phone line was busy.’
      • ‘I pick up the phone and dial his number to tell him, but his line is busy.’
      • ‘But before that could happen, or even a single ring, it appeared that the other line was busy.’
      • ‘The service has proved hugely popular in previous years, but parents and students are advised to be patient if the lines are busy.’
      • ‘The clerk made numerous calls to the election supervisor, but the lines were constantly busy.’
      • ‘However, when her line was busy I tended to dash onto the internet hoping to find her there.’
      • ‘Then Melvin told me that everyone thought we were dead, so I tried to call you, but the line was busy!’
      • ‘Callers to the college complain of an endless cycle of relievers or incessant ringing when all lines are busy.’
      • ‘I ran out of patience with the busy lines with the voice that told me I was appreciated.’
      • ‘So instead she tried dialing Montgomery home but the line was busy.’
      • ‘We had trouble getting dial tones on the land lines, everyone's line was busy.’
      • ‘I tried phoning the house a couple of times, but the line was busy, Billy's sister was probably using it.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there was one ring and the phone went to voice mail which meant the line was busy.’
      • ‘I'd tried calling her the night before but the line was busy and I really wanted to clear the air.’
      • ‘We tried to call but the phone line was busy and we really need you in there today as a guide.’
      • ‘I then quickly turned on my mobile phone and called Sarah, but the line was busy.’
      • ‘I tried to call him but the phone line was busy, someone must have been on the internet.’
      unavailable, otherwise engaged
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  • 2Excessively detailed or decorated.

    ‘the lavish set designs are a little too busy’
    • ‘Furthermore, many Web pages are busy places, full of navigation widgets and data entry fields.’
    • ‘All the same, busy foyer ceramics and florid room furnishings suggest a resort ripe for refurbishment.’
    • ‘He opened it, the first page emblazoned with flashy colours and busy patterns.’
    • ‘The Photoshop keyboard is a bit busy, but all the major Photoshop functionality is available.’
    • ‘And there are busy purple scarves of names, names that cannot be ignored, that must be reckoned with.’
    • ‘There's no doubt about it, plaid, like any other busy pattern, can put on the illusion of girth.’
    • ‘Concerto movements also ended up in cantatas, often with florid parts being added to an already busy original.’
    • ‘Do not use flashing or excessively busy animated avatars.’
    • ‘In the shop, we found a fluffy, long skirt with a busy paisley pattern on it.’
    • ‘I find that a lot of players, although they may be regarded as good players, make their rhythm excessively busy, rather than use a sparse rhythm which is still able to drive the music along.’
    • ‘Let the color make the statement without using busy patterns and ornamentation.’
    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
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busy oneself
  • Keep oneself occupied.

    ‘she busied herself with her new home’
    • ‘This is what the chamber should be busying itself with.’
    • ‘An eighth of a mile from the lake, we spotted two forest rangers 25 feet up the trail, busying themselves around Gilpin Creek.’
    • ‘Too often we busy ourselves with petty distractions, in order to escape the confrontation with reality.’
    • ‘As the host nation we have put our best foot forward, busying ourselves with elaborate plans for the arrival of our diverse group of guests.’
    • ‘I've been busying myself with a complete website make-over.’
    • ‘He has watched presidents come and go while busying himself for endless hours creating desserts designed to delight and soothe, mend fences and cement alliances.’
    • ‘As the installation was underway, I retreated back to the computer and started busying myself with some work.’
    • ‘Silhouettes of women busying themselves in the kitchen are visible in the dimming light.’
    • ‘Throughout the last year people in Swindon and Marlborough have been busying themselves with all sorts of weird and wonderful events to fill the appeal's coffers.’
    • ‘To pad out the time, many schools are busying themselves with sports days, school shows, prize-givings, and other sundry activities.’
    • ‘I'm going to try to busy myself with other stuff today until 8pm rolls around.’
    • ‘Some celebrities have stayed at Claridges for the last couple of nights, where they have been busying themselves trying new hairstyles, make-up, diamonds and outfits.’
    • ‘And then both women busied themselves in trying to get through the paperwork involved in less than an hour while Scott went to get the further bits of paper which the occasion demanded.’
    • ‘On a visit to the bright play school last week I found up to 25 children, aged between three and five, busying themselves with educational toys and books.’
    • ‘I note the time and busy myself making a pot of tea to keep my mind occupied until the 3-minute mark.’
    • ‘But for now that must wait while I busy myself with laundry and hoovers and unopened mail.’
    • ‘Well, I have agreed a fee with the buyer and already solicitors are busying themselves passing bits of paper backwards and forwards.’
    • ‘Moreover, one can busy oneself almost endlessly in talking about measurement and assessment.’
    • ‘A mind-set has emerged busying itself with quick fixes, stopping change or shoring up its excesses.’
    • ‘I busied myself with other things to keep my mind occupied and returned to it only when I was calm and focused.’
    occupy, involve, engage, concern, employ, absorb, engross, immerse, preoccupy
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  • A police officer.

    ‘I was picked up by the busies for possession’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I still think it was a plucky thing to do though, even if they were aided and abetted by the Bizzies.’
    • ‘The bizzies just stick up for them, minute they're there they're around them.’
    • ‘We get off, but apparently the bizzies shut the bar down just after until everyone had left.’
    police officer, policeman, policewoman, pc, wpc, officer of the law, detective, dc
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  • get busy

    • 1Begin work or tasks that need to be done.

      ‘this meeting is dismissed—let's get busy, people’
      • ‘You're right, I need to get busy or I'll get nothing done.’
      • ‘Now with your second chance, you can get busy.’
      • ‘Some people dream of being successful, some of us wake up and get busy!’
      • ‘Pick up a leaflet in the Library and get busy, filling your shoebox!’
      • ‘I've got to get busy living.’
      • ‘This sprouting activity is also a sign for gardeners to start getting busy.’
      • ‘He needs to get busy and recruit some talent. "’
      • ‘To the accompaniment of flute music, I got busy with tonics and sumac.’
      • ‘Unions leaders need to get busy getting their act together, too.’
      • ‘All we need now is a few more customers, so let's get busy!’
    • 2Have sexual intercourse.

      • ‘I've never met a girl who could resist being alone with him and they didn't get busy.’
      • ‘The film opens with a handful of high school kids, getting busy in the back seats of their cars.’
      • ‘John and I got busy just that afternoon when everyone was out.’


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