mean business

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mean business (third-person singular simple present means business, present participle meaning business, simple past and past participle meant business)

  1. (idiomatic, used to convey serious intent) To be serious, especially where achieving a specific end against opposition is concerned.
    • 1895, William Chambers, Robert Chambers, Chambers's journal:
      Say in a week from now, I will undertake to deliver this most marvellous masterpiece, if 'Look here, 'Tony, I mean business, if you don't.
    • 2002, Armando T. Atienza, Shrewd Business Tactics:
      He projects his concern to all employees and he means business when he says the “buck stops here”.