busy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English bisy, busie, from Old English bysiġ, bisiġ (busy, occupied, diligent), from Proto-West Germanic *bisīg (diligent; zealous; busy). Cognate with Saterland Frisian biesich (active, diligent, hard-working, industrious), Dutch bezig (busy), Low German besig (busy), Old Frisian bisgia (to use), Old English bisgian (to occupy, employ, trouble, afflict). The spelling with ⟨u⟩ represents the pronunciation of the West Midland and Southern dialects while the Modern English pronunciation with /ɪ/ is from the dialects of the East Midlands.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: bĭz'i, IPA(key): /ˈbɪzi/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪzi
  • Hyphenation: bus‧y

Adjective[edit]

busy (comparative busier, superlative busiest)

  1. Crowded with business or activities; having a great deal going on.
    Be careful crossing that busy street.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene iii]:
      To-morrow is a busy day.
    • 1843Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol.
      Although they had but that moment left the school behind them, they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city, where shadowy passengers passed and repassed; where shadowy carts and coaches battled for the way, and all the strife and tumult of a real city were.
      They left the busy scene, and went into an obscure part of the town, where Scrooge had never penetrated before, although he recognised its situation, and its bad repute.
  2. Engaged in activity or by someone else.
    The director cannot see you now: he's busy.
    Her telephone has been busy all day.
    He is busy with piano practice.
    They are busy getting ready for the annual meeting.
    • 1719Daniel Defoe. Robinson Crusoe.
      And the first thing I did was to lay by a certain quantity of provisions, being the stores for our voyage; and intended in a week or a fortnight’s time to open the dock, and launch out our boat. I was busy one morning upon something of this kind, when I called to Friday, and bid him to go to the sea-shore and see if he could find a turtle or a tortoise, a thing which we generally got once a week, for the sake of the eggs as well as the flesh.
      But to return to Friday; he was so busy about his father that I could not find in my heart to take him off for some time; but after I thought he could leave him a little, I called him to me, and he came jumping and laughing, and pleased to the highest extreme: then I asked him if he had given his father any bread.
    • 1813Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice.
      After walking several miles in a leisurely manner, and too busy to know anything about it, they found at last, on examining their watches, that it was time to be at home.
    • 1843Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol.
      His hands were busy with his garments all this time; turning them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of extravagance.
    • 1967, Sleigh, Barbara, Jessamy, 1993 edition, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, →ISBN, page 18:
      In fact she was so busy doing all the things that anyone might, who finds themselves alone in an empty house, that she did not notice at first when it began to turn dusk and the rooms to grow dim.
  3. Having a lot going on; complicated or intricate.
    Flowers, stripes, and checks in the same fabric make for a busy pattern.
  4. Officious; meddling.

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

busy (third-person singular simple present busies, present participle busying, simple past and past participle busied)

  1. (transitive) To make somebody busy or active; to occupy.
    • On my vacation I'll busy myself with gardening.
  2. (transitive) To rush somebody. (Can we add an example for this sense?)

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

busy (plural busies)

  1. (slang, Britain, Liverpudlian, derogatory) A police officer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Upward, Christopher & George Davidson. 2011. The History of English Spelling. Wiley-Blackwell.

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Adjective[edit]

busy

  1. Alternative form of bisy