- an occupation, profession, or trade: His business is poultry farming.
- the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.
- a person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern.
- volume of trade; patronage: Most of the store's business comes from local families.
- a building or site where commercial work is carried on, as a factory, store, or office; place of work: His business is on the corner of Broadway and Elm Street.
- that with which a person is principally and seriously concerned: Words are a writer's business.
- something with which a person is rightfully concerned: What they are doing is none of my business.
- affair; project: We were exasperated by the whole business.
- an assignment or task; chore: It's your business to wash the dishes now.
- Also called piece of business, stage business. Theater. a movement or gesture, especially a minor one, used by an actor to give expressiveness, drama, detail, etc., to a scene or to help portray a character.
- excrement: used as a euphemism.
- of, noting, or pertaining to business, its organization, or its procedures.
- containing, suitable for, or welcoming business or commerce: New York is a good business town.
- business is business, profit has precedence over personal considerations: He is reluctant to fire his friend, but business is business.
- do one's business, (usually of an animal or child) to defecate or urinate: housebreaking a puppy to do his business outdoors.
- get down to business, to apply oneself to serious matters; concentrate on work: They finally got down to business and signed the contract.
- give someone the business, Informal.
- to make difficulties for someone; treat harshly: Instead of a straight answer they give him the business with a needless run-around.
- to scold severely; give a tongue-lashing to: The passengers will give the bus driver the business if he keeps driving so recklessly.
- have no business, to have no right: You have no business coming into this house.
- mean business, to propose to take action or be serious in intent; be in earnest: By the fire in his eye we knew that he meant business.
- mind one's own business, to refrain from meddling in the affairs of others: When he inquired about the noise coming from the neighbor's apartment, he was told to mind his own business.
Origin of business
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for business
I was a little mystified at how benignly he responded to my questions about his business activities.I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003
January 7, 2015
This reporter knocked at the Wilkins home on Tuesday morning but received neither an answer nor the business end of a shotgun.The 7-Year-Old Plane Crash Survivor’s Brutal Journey Through the Woods
January 7, 2015
Together, they crossed over the International Bridges on foot into Juarez to conduct some business.
You see, there is another Mexico, one that is not so appealing to business but well known to law enforcement.Why Mexicans Are Enraged by Obama’s Big Tuesday Meeting
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
January 6, 2015
The woman in question, meanwhile, has business of her own to take care of—she is reported to be shopping a memoir.From Playboy Prince to Dirty Old Man?
January 5, 2015
This business attended to, Robert bent his steps to Mr. Paine's office.
Well, if you have any business, you may state it at once, as I am quite busy.
He tried to recall some forgotten detail of the business that might serve to occupy him.
"You certainly do know your business, son," said Uncle Peter, fervently.
You don't have to be Mr. William Wisenham to do business with him.
- a trade or profession
- an industrial, commercial, or professional operation; purchase and sale of goods and servicesthe tailoring business
- a commercial or industrial establishment, such as a firm or factory
- commercial activity; dealings (esp in the phrase do business)
- volume or quantity of commercial activitybusiness is poor today
- commercial policy or procedureovercharging is bad business
- proper or rightful concern or responsibility (often in the phrase mind one's own business)
- a special task; assignment
- a matter or matters to be attended tothe business of the meeting
- an affair; mattera queer business; I'm tired of the whole business
- serious work or activityget down to business
- a complicated affair; rigmarole
- informal a vaguely defined collection or areajets, fast cars, and all that business
- Also called: stage business theatre an incidental action, such as lighting a pipe, performed by an actor for dramatic effect
- a group of ferrets
- euphemistic defecation (esp in the phrase do one's business)
- slang prostitution
- like nobody's business informal extremely well or fast
- mean business to be in earnest
- do the business informal to achieve what is requiredit tastes vile, but it does the business
Word Origin and History for business
Old English bisignes (Northumbrian) "care, anxiety, occupation," from bisig "careful, anxious, busy, occupied, diligent" (see busy (adj.)) + -ness. Middle English sense of "state of being much occupied or engaged" (mid-14c.) is obsolete, replaced by busyness.
Sense of "a person's work, occupation" is first recorded late 14c. (in late Old English bisig (adj.) appears as a noun with the sense "occupation, state of employment"). Meaning "what one is about at the moment" is from 1590s. Sense of "trade, commercial engagements" is first attested 1727. In 17c. it also could mean "sexual intercourse." Modern two-syllable pronunciation is 17c.
Business card first attested 1840; business letter from 1766. Business end "the practical or effective part" (of something) is American English, by 1874. Phrase business as usual attested from 1865. To mean business "be intent on serious action" is from 1856. To mind (one's) own business is from 1620s. Johnson's dictionary also has busiless "At leisure; without business; unemployed."
Idioms and Phrases with business
In addition to the idiom beginning with business