business as usual

The normal course of some activity, as in The fire destroyed only a small section of the store, so it's business as usual. This term originated as an announcement that a commercial establishment was continuing to operate in spite of fire, construction, or some similar interruption. It had been extended to broader use by 1914, when Winston Churchill said in a speech: “The maxim of the British people is ‘Business as usual,’” which became a slogan for the rest of World War I. Today it may be used in this positive sense and also pejoratively, as in Never mind that most civilians are starving to death—the ministry regards its job to be business as usual. [Late 1800s]

Words Nearby business as usual

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

How to use business as usual in a sentence

  • What sane adults in our drab, business-as-usual world would think of doing that?

    The Everett massacre | Walker C. Smith
  • The frosty old receptionist seemed to be typical in her business-as-usual, come-what-may attitude.

  • The German government had tried to meet the English "business-as-usual" with a policy of "eating-as-usual."

    The Iron Ration | George Abel Schreiner