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  1. the quality or condition of being busy.
  2. lively but meaningless activity.

Origin of busyness

First recorded in 1840–50; busy + -ness
Related formsnon·bus·y·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for busyness

Historical Examples

  • Tom, standing with hat in hand, was impressed with his busyness.

    The Walking Delegate

    Leroy Scott

  • I shouldn't have called it restlessness so much as busyness.

    Lore of Proserpine

    Maurice Hewlett

  • Add the ordinary impediments of life, and admire my busyness.

  • Of course, out of doors the bees do this; their “busyness” materially aiding the gardener.

    Small Gardens

    Violet Purton Biddle

  • I contented myself with the appearance of busyness, and wondered how long it would be before my chief caught me out.

Word Origin and History for busyness


1849, first attested in Thoreau, from busy (adj.) + -ness. A modern formation made necessary after business evolved away from busy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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