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busk

[buhsk]
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verb (used without object)
  1. Chiefly British. to entertain by dancing, singing, or reciting on the street or in a public place.
  2. Canadian. to make a showy or noisy appeal.
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Origin of busk

1850–55; perhaps, if earlier sense was “to make a living by entertaining,” < Polari < Italian buscare to procure, get, gain < Spanish buscar to look for, seek (of disputed orig.)
Related formsbusk·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for busking

Historical Examples

  • They therefore decided that the band should go out "busking" each evening during Christmas week.

    From John O'Groats to Land's End

    Robert Naylor and John Naylor

  • She is busking up her hair just as was gude enough for the old nuns, but no for kings and queens.'

    Two Penniless Princesses

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Yet I had stayed this busking marriage Had not my brothers pressed me to such haste And peace not waited on it.

  • A younger daughter was sitting “busking her puppies” (dressing her puppets, dolls), as young girls are used to do.

    Witch Stories

    E. Lynn (Elizabeth Lynn) Linton


British Dictionary definitions for busking

busk1

noun
  1. a strip of whalebone, wood, steel, etc, inserted into the front of a corset to stiffen it
  2. archaic, or dialect the corset itself
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French busc, probably from Old Italian busco splinter, stick, of Germanic origin

busk2

verb
  1. (intr) British to make money by singing, dancing, acting, etc, in public places, as in front of theatre queues
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Derived Formsbusker, nounbusking, noun

Word Origin

C20: perhaps from Spanish buscar to look for

busk3

verb (tr) Scot
  1. to make ready; prepare
  2. to dress or adorn
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Word Origin

C14: from Old Norse būask, from būa to make ready, dwell; see bower 1
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

Word Origin and History for busking

n.

1851, slang, described variously as selling articles or obscene ballads in public houses, playing music on the streets, or performing as a sort of informal stand-up comedy act in pubs, perhaps from an earlier word meaning "to cruise as a pirate" (see busker).

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busk

n.

"strip of wood, whalebone, etc., used in corset-making," 1590s, probably from French busc (16c.), from Italian bosco "splinter," of Germanic origin (see bush (n.)).

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busk

v.

"to prepare, to dress oneself," also "to go, set out," c.1300, probably from Old Norse buask "to prepare oneself," reflexive of bua "to prepare" (see bound (adj.2)) + contraction of Old Norse reflexive pronoun sik. Most common in northern Middle English and surviving chiefly in Scottish and northern English dialect. Related boun had the same senses in northern and Scottish Middle English. Related: Busked; busking.

The nautical term is attested from 1660s (in a general sense of "to tack, to beat to windward"), apparently from obsolete French busquer "to shift, filch, prowl," which is related to Italian buscare "to filch, prowl," Spanish buscar (from Old Spanish boscar), perhaps originally from bosco "wood" (see bush (n.)), with a hunting notion of "beating a wood" to flush game.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper