[ buhsk ]
/ bʌsk /

verb (used without object)

Chiefly British. to entertain by dancing, singing, or reciting on the street or in a public place.
Canadian. to make a showy or noisy appeal.

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 forms

busk·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for busking

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

    The Mortal Gods and Other Plays|Olive Tilford Dargan

British Dictionary definitions for busking (1 of 3)


/ (bʌsk) /


a strip of whalebone, wood, steel, etc, inserted into the front of a corset to stiffen it
archaic, or dialect the corset itself

Word Origin for busk

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

British Dictionary definitions for busking (2 of 3)


/ (bʌsk) /


(intr) British to make money by singing, dancing, acting, etc, in public places, as in front of theatre queues

Derived Forms

busker, nounbusking, noun

Word Origin for busk

C20: perhaps from Spanish buscar to look for

British Dictionary definitions for busking (3 of 3)


/ (bʌsk) /

verb (tr) Scot

to make ready; prepare
to dress or adorn

Word Origin for busk

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