- actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime: busy with her work.
- not at leisure; otherwise engaged: He couldn't see any visitors because he was busy.
- full of or characterized by activity: a busy life.
- (of a telephone line) in use by a party or parties and not immediately accessible.
- officious; meddlesome; prying.
- ornate, disparate, or clashing in design or colors; cluttered with small, unharmonious details; fussy: The rug is too busy for this room.
- to keep occupied; make or keep busy: In summer, he busied himself keeping the lawn in order.
Origin of busy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for over-busy
Jealousy, that troubler of reason, had been over-busy with his wits as it had with hers.Captain Blood
These attacks were some of the “arrows of malignancy,” which naturally fell about the over-busy man.Sir James Young Simpson and Chloroform (1811-1870)
Henry Laing Gordon
She got up and walked about, to try and stop her over-busy fancy by bodily exercise.Ruth
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
This is no disease, to be treated with the grey powder and the castor oil wherewith the over-busy monthly nurse is always ready.The Mother's Manual of Children's Diseases
Charles West, M.D.
It is necessarily true in all such cases that many of the over-busy man's duties recur day after day.Forging Ahead in Business
- actively or fully engaged; occupied
- crowded with or characterized by activitya busy day
- mainly US and Canadian (of a room, telephone line, etc) in use; engaged
- overcrowded with detaila busy painting
- meddlesome; inquisitive; prying
- (tr) to make or keep (someone, esp oneself) busy; occupy
Word Origin and History for over-busy
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.
late Old English bisgian, from busy (adj.). Related: Busied; busying.