- actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime: busy with her work.
- not at leisure; otherwise engaged: He couldn't see any visitors because he was busy.
- full of or characterized by activity: a busy life.
- (of a telephone line) in use by a party or parties and not immediately accessible.
- officious; meddlesome; prying.
- ornate, disparate, or clashing in design or colors; cluttered with small, unharmonious details; fussy: The rug is too busy for this room.
- to keep occupied; make or keep busy: In summer, he busied himself keeping the lawn in order.
Origin of busy
SynonymsSee more synonyms for busy on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for busy
Bush busy engaging constituents on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate ahead of the 2004 presidential election.Jeb Bush’s Unseen Anti-Gay Marriage Emails
January 9, 2015
At some point during his busy schedule, Israel found the time to write a book, titled The Global War on Morris.Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’
January 7, 2015
If the world is going to end, why are evangelicals so busy trying to save it?The Evangelical Apocalypse Is All Your Fault
January 4, 2015
He said it was okay, that he had been busy too… busy fighting serious intestinal problems.
I finally called Lee a couple of times and we talked but he was busy with guests at the house.
In these solitary tours he was busy and happy, working and playing.
Plato perceived that the contemplative maiden was busy with memories of the past.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
He was busy almost half an hour, while Uncle Peter smoked in silence.
All busy preparing for a start for the Head of the Bight to-morrow.Explorations in Australia
There is a look of industrious nothingness about him, such as busy dogs have.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
- actively or fully engaged; occupied
- crowded with or characterized by activitya busy day
- mainly US and Canadian (of a room, telephone line, etc) in use; engaged
- overcrowded with detaila busy painting
- meddlesome; inquisitive; prying
- (tr) to make or keep (someone, esp oneself) busy; occupy
Word Origin and History for busy
Old English bisig "careful, anxious," later "continually employed or occupied," cognate with Old Dutch bezich, Low German besig; no known connection with any other Germanic or Indo-European language. Still pronounced as in Middle English, but for some unclear reason the spelling shifted to -u- in 15c.
The notion of "anxiousness" has drained from the word since Middle English. Often in a bad sense in early Modern English, "prying, meddlesome" (preserved in busybody). The word was a euphemism for "sexually active" in 17c. Of telephone lines, 1893. Of display work, "excessively detailed, visually cluttered," 1903.
late Old English bisgian, from busy (adj.). Related: Busied; busying.
Idioms and Phrases with busy
In addition to the idioms beginning with busy
- busy as a beaver
- busy work
- get busy