working energetically and devotedly; hard-working; diligent: an industrious person.
Obsolete. skillful.

Origin of industrious

1525–35; < Middle French industrie “cleverness, skill,” from Old French industrie “contrivance, device,” from Latin industrius “diligent, assiduous”; equivalent to indo-, by-form of in-in-2 + -struus, noun derivative of struere “to arrange, devise, build”
Related formsin·dus·tri·ous·ly, adverbin·dus·tri·ous·ness, nounnon·in·dus·tri·ous, adjectivenon·in·dus·tri·ous·ly, adverbnon·in·dus·tri·ous·ness, nounsu·per·in·dus·tri·ous, adjectivesu·per·in·dus·tri·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·in·dus·tri·ous·ness, nounun·in·dus·tri·ous, adjectiveun·in·dus·tri·ous·ly, adverb
Can be confusedindustrial industrious

Synonyms for industrious

Synonym study

1. See busy.

Antonyms for industrious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for industrious

Contemporary Examples of industrious

Historical Examples of industrious

  • There is a look of industrious nothingness about him, such as busy dogs have.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • The industrious and thrifty would be at the mercy of the lazy and wicked.

  • It was a mistake, then, was it, to be temperate and industrious?

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Many examples of pit dwellings have been found by industrious explorers.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • The great Cuvier was a singularly accurate, careful, and industrious observer.


    Samuel Smiles

British Dictionary definitions for industrious



hard-working, diligent, or assiduous
an obsolete word for skilful
Derived Formsindustriously, adverbindustriousness, noun
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 industrious

"characterized by energy, effort, and attention," 1520s (implied in industriously), from Middle French industrieux and directly from Late Latin industriosus, from Latin industria (see industry). Retains the etymological sense. Related: Industriousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper