Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

busy

[biz-ee] /ˈbɪz i/
adjective, busier, busiest.
1.
actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime:
busy with her work.
2.
not at leisure; otherwise engaged:
He couldn't see any visitors because he was busy.
3.
full of or characterized by activity:
a busy life.
4.
(of a telephone line) in use by a party or parties and not immediately accessible.
5.
officious; meddlesome; prying.
6.
ornate, disparate, or clashing in design or colors; cluttered with small, unharmonious details; fussy:
The rug is too busy for this room.
verb (used with object), busied, busying.
7.
to keep occupied; make or keep busy:
In summer, he busied himself keeping the lawn in order.
Origin of busy
1000
before 1000; Middle English busi, bisi, Old English bysig, bisig; cognate with Middle Low German, Middle Dutch besich, Dutch bezig
Related forms
nonbusy, adjective
overbusy, adjective
superbusy, adjective
unbusy, adjective
well-busied, adjective
Synonyms
1. assiduous, hard-working. 2. occupied, employed, working.
Antonyms
1. indolent. 2. unoccupied.
Synonym Study
1. Busy, diligent, industrious imply active or earnest effort to accomplish something, or a habitual attitude of such earnestness. Busy means actively employed, temporarily or habitually: a busy official. Diligent suggests earnest and constant effort or application, and usually connotes fondness for, or enjoyment of, what one is doing: a diligent student. Industrious often implies a habitual characteristic of steady and zealous application, often with a definite goal: an industrious clerk working for promotion.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for busying
Historical Examples
  • She smiled at the conceit, busying herself with the tea things.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • "You'd meet Flavia," Corrie declared, busying himself with his own ablutions.

    From the Car Behind

    Eleanor M. Ingram
  • "So that's it," thought Patty, busying herself with the biscuit dough.

    The Gold Girl James B. Hendryx
  • "We will begin with Miss Ashe," she said, busying herself with some papers on her desk.

    Blue Bonnet in Boston Caroline E. Jacobs
  • Darkness is falling, and Theresa is busying herself with something or another.

    Poor Folk Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • They were puzzled to make out what it was he was busying himself with.

    In the Morning of Time Charles G. D. Roberts
  • Veritably I was busying myself for nothing over this old vestibule.

    The Mayor's Wife Anna Katherine Green
  • Mary was now busying herself in closing and fastening these shutters.

  • "It was quite easy," said Bessie, busying herself with the pot.

  • A mere list of them will show in what the workmen are now busying themselves.

    The Ceramic Art Jennie J. Young
British Dictionary definitions for busying

busy

/ˈbɪzɪ/
adjective busier, busiest
1.
actively or fully engaged; occupied
2.
crowded with or characterized by activity: a busy day
3.
(mainly US & Canadian) (of a room, telephone line, etc) in use; engaged
4.
overcrowded with detail: a busy painting
5.
meddlesome; inquisitive; prying
verb busies, busying, busied
6.
(transitive) to make or keep (someone, esp oneself) busy; occupy
Derived Forms
busyness, noun
Word Origin
Old English bisig; related to Middle Dutch besich, perhaps to Latin festīnāre to hurry
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for busying

busy

adj.

Old English bisig "careful, anxious," later "continually employed or occupied," cognate with Old Dutch bezich, Low German besig; no known connection with any other Germanic or Indo-European language. Still pronounced as in Middle English, but for some unclear reason the spelling shifted to -u- in 15c.

The notion of "anxiousness" has drained from the word since Middle English. Often in a bad sense in early Modern English, "prying, meddlesome" (preserved in busybody). The word was a euphemism for "sexually active" in 17c. Of telephone lines, 1893. Of display work, "excessively detailed, visually cluttered," 1903.

busy

v.

late Old English bisgian, from busy (adj.). Related: Busied; busying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with busying
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for busying

Word Value for busying

13
16
Scrabble Words With Friends