business as usual

From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


Popularized by Winston Churchill as motto in World War I.[1]


  • (file)


business as usual (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) The normal course of an activity, particularly in circumstances that are out of the ordinary.
    • 1916, H. G. Wells, “Onlookers”, in Mr. Britling Sees It Through, New York: Macmillan, Book II, page 214:
      The phase[sic] “Business as Usual” ran about the world, and the papers abounded in articles in which going on as though there was no war at all was demonstrated to be the truest form of patriotism. [] Business as usual during Alterations to the Map of Europe” was the advertisement of one cheerful barber, widely quoted. . . .
    • 2013 April 9, Andrei Lankov, “Stay Cool. Call North Korea’s Bluff.”, in New York Times[1]:
      In other words, it is business as usual on the Korean Peninsula. Perhaps, when the atmosphere cools down, an argument can be made for giving North Korea’s leaders some of the assistance they want, if they are willing to make concessions of their own.
    • 2020, Marcus Gilroy-Ware, quoting Sadiq Khan, After the Fact?, Repeater, →ISBN:
      This was very well illustrated when Extinction Rebellion protests disrupted traffic in London in April 2019, and Mayor Sadiq Khan insisted that while he shared “the passion about tackling climate change of those protesting” [] Londoners needed to be able to return to “business as usual”.
  2. (idiomatic) The normal execution of standard functional operations within an organisation, particularly in contrast to a project or program which would introduce change (although that change may itself become business as usual).




business as usual (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) That is usual, expected, not extraordinary.
    • 1995, Advanced automotive technology : visions of a super-efficient family car.[2]:
      This vehicle would be likely to cost about $1,500 more at retail than the business as usual vehicle, which achieves 33 mpg.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Winston S. Churchill (November 9, 1914), “Business as Usual”, in Robert Rhodes James, editor, Winston S. Churchill: his complete speeches, 1897–1963, volume 3, published 1974, page 2341: “The British people have taken for themselves this motto–“Business carried on as usual during alterations on the map of Europe.””

Further reading[edit]