business as usual

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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]

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


What does business as usual mean?

Business as usual refers to a situation that’s proceeding as it normally does.

Business as usual is sometimes used to mock or criticize someone’s actions during a crisis or emergency, as in Despite the numerous scandals rocking the company, it was business as usual for the hapless CEO. 

The phrase can also be used to refer to a return to normal activity after a problem or is solved or a crisis ends.

Example: The power outage was fixed last night and the neighborhood is back to business as usual today.

Where does business as usual come from?

The first records of the phrase business as usual come from the late 1800s. This phrase is thought to originate from stores announcing they would continue to operate as they usually did despite an emergency or interrupting event. By 1914, it was being used more generally when Winston Churchill used the phrase in a speech to encourage British citizens to act normally despite British involvement in World War I.

The business in business as usual does not have to be boring or mundane, only usual or customary. For a sports team that usually wins its games, winning is business as usual.

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What are some synonyms for business as usual?

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

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

How is business as usual used in real life?

Business as usual is used to describe normal activity. It’s sometimes used in a mocking or critical way to refer to chaotic situations that have come to be expected as the norm.



Try using business as usual!

Is business as usual used correctly in the following sentence? 

Despite a horde of kittens invading the store, it was business as usual and the employees acted as if the fuzzy trespassers weren’t there.

How to use business as usual in a sentence