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From Middle English busi, besy, bisi, from Old English bysiġ, *biesiġ, bisiġ (busy, occupied, diligent). Cognate with Dutch bezig (busy), Low German besig (busy), Old Frisian bisgia (to use), Old English bisgian (to occupy, employ, trouble, afflict).



busy (comparative busier, superlative busiest)

  1. Crowded with business or activities; having a great deal going on.
    a busy street
    • Shakespeare
      To-morrow is a busy day.
  2. Engaged in another activity or by someone else.
    The director cannot see you now, he's busy.
    Her telephone has been busy all day.
    She is too busy to have time for riddles.
  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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)

Related terms[edit]



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

  1. (transitive) To make somebody busy, to keep busy with, to occupy, to make occupied.
    • On my vacation I'll busy myself with gardening.
  2. (transitive) To rush somebody.