[ biz-nis ]
/ ˈbɪz nɪs /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: business / businesses on Thesaurus.com

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.
"Is" it time for a new quiz? "Are" you ready? Then prove your excellent skills on using "is" vs. "are."
Question 1 of 7
IS and ARE are both forms of which verb?

Idioms about business

Origin of business

before 950; Middle English; Old English bisignes.See busy, -ness

synonym study for business

1. See occupation.

how to pronounce business

See isn't.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does business mean?

Business is the sale of goods or services to try to make a profit, as in Restaurants are a tough business, with many restaurants closing in the first few years.

Business is also used to refer to any person or group of people that operate with the purpose of making money, as in Yen and Tao went into business walking the dogs in their neighborhood.

Business is also used to refer to the sales and money brought in by a business, as in Even though we had a lot of visitors to the store, business was slow over the weekend.

Business has many other senses related to work and trade, but it can also refer to someone’s personal concern or interest. Your feelings, for example, are your own business.

Business can also be used as an adjective to describe anything related to the workings of a profession or exchange of money, as in The business office is closed on weekends, but the store is usually open.

Example: Some small businesses make more money in this town than the chains do.

Where does business come from?

The first records of the term business come from before the year 950. It comes from the Old English bisignes. It combines the term busy, meaning “engaging in work,” and the suffix ness, which turns adjectives into nouns related to quality or state.

Business is such a large part of human life that it’s no wonder we use it in so many ways. It turns up in a lot of idioms, like get down to business, meaning “concentrate on work.” If you mean business, you are serious about something. And if someone tells you business is business, they mean that making money is more important than personal matters.

Business as someone’s primary or rightful concern also gives us a lot of idioms. If you tell someone to mind their own business, you’re telling them to leave your concerns alone. A person that has no business talking to you rudely has no right to talk to you that way. And if you understand words like nobody’s business, you understand them very well. Maybe you should go into the dictionary business!

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to business?

  • antibusiness (adjective)
  • interbusiness (adjective)
  • multibusiness (adjective)
  • nonbusiness (adjective)
  • probusiness (adjective)

What are some synonyms for business?

What are some words that share a root or word element with business?

What are some words that often get used in discussing business?

How is business used in real life?

Business is a very common word with many senses, most often related to work.



Try using business!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for business?

A. employment
B. entertainment
C. profession
D. job

How to use business in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for business

/ (ˈbɪznɪs) /


Word Origin for business

Old English bisignis solicitude, attentiveness, from bisig busy + -nis -ness
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with business


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.