- 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
Synonyms for busySee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Antonyms for busy
Related Words for busyingemploy, involve, attend, fill, join, immerse, preoccupy, undertake, arrest, interest, participate, catch, fascinate, bewitch, enthrall, captivate, enrapture, engross, engage, soak
Examples from the Web for busying
Historical Examples of busying
She smiled at the conceit, busying herself with the tea things.From Place to Place
Irvin S. Cobb
"You'd meet Flavia," Corrie declared, busying himself with his own ablutions.From the Car Behind
Eleanor M. Ingram
"So that's it," thought Patty, busying herself with the biscuit dough.The Gold Girl
James B. Hendryx
"We will begin with Miss Ashe," she said, busying herself with some papers on her desk.Blue Bonnet in Boston
Caroline E. Jacobs
Darkness is falling, and Theresa is busying herself with something or another.Poor Folk
- 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 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.
In addition to the idioms beginning with busy
- busy as a beaver
- busy work
- get busy