- 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 businesses
And then when businesses leave the state, they want to know why.Christie Blames Parents for Bad Economy
January 3, 2015
Bitcoin began 2013 with a roaring price of $770 per unit, and businesses right and left were converting to the ethereal product.You Were Wrong About Miley & Bitcoin: 2014’s Failed Predictions
December 31, 2014
The project tries to help young Turkish women raised in orphanages to start their own businesses.The Women Battling an Islamist Strongman
December 22, 2014
They were forced to leave their homes, businesses and families behind, and old grudges against the Castro regime run deep.Aging Cuban Exiles And Their Lawmakers Bypassed by White House
December 17, 2014
Authorities have seized more than $250 million in assets from businesses across Rome.The Mayor Who Took Down the Mafia That Ruined Rome
Barbie Latza Nadeau
December 6, 2014
And if this is true with regard to men's businesses, is it not equally so with regard to women's?The Skilful Cook
Not one half of the businesses which should be exploited are appearing in the newspapers.The Clock that Had no Hands
Just as the men farm their own land, the women own their businesses.The Soul of a People
People are, for once, minding their own businesses, bless 'em.Little Miss Grouch
Samuel Hopkins Adams
There seemed to be a fast turnover of businesses in Tetrahyde.The Status Civilization
- 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 businesses
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 businesses
In addition to the idiom beginning with business