from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The activity of buying and selling commodities, products, or services.
  • noun The amount or volume of this activity.
  • noun The variety of this activity in which a person is engaged.
  • noun A specific occupation or pursuit.
  • noun A commercial enterprise or establishment.
  • noun Commercial dealings; patronage.
  • noun One's rightful or proper concern or interest.
  • noun Something involving one personally.
  • noun Serious work or endeavor.
  • noun An affair or matter.
  • noun An incidental action performed by an actor on the stage to fill a pause between lines or to provide interesting detail.
  • noun Informal Strong verbal criticism; scolding.
  • noun Informal Urination or defecation.
  • noun Obsolete The condition of being busy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The state of being busy or actively employed; diligence; pains.
  • noun Care; anxiety; solicitude; worry.
  • noun A matter or affair that engages a person's attention or requires his care; an affair receiving or requiring attention; specifically, that which busies or occupies one's time, attention, and labor as his chief concern; that which one does for a livelihood; occupation; employment: as, his business was that of a merchant; to carry on the business of agriculture.
  • noun Specifically Mercantile pursuits collectively; employments requiring knowledge of accounts and financial methods; the occupation of conducting trade or monetary transactions of any kind.
  • noun That which is undertaken as a duty or of chief importance, or is set up as a principal purpose or aim.
  • noun Concern; right of action or interposition: as, what business has a man with the disputes of others?
  • noun Affair; point; matter.
  • noun Theat., such preconcerted movements and actions on the stage as going up, crossing over, taking a chair, poking a fire, toying with anything, etc., designed to fill up the action of the play or character, and heighten its effect.
  • noun To ease one's self at stool.
  • Relating to, connected with, or engaged in business, traffic, trade, etc.: as, business habits; business hours; business men.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That which busies one, or that which engages the time, attention, or labor of any one, as his principal concern or interest, whether for a longer or shorter time; constant employment; regular occupation.
  • noun Any particular occupation or employment engaged in for livelihood or gain, as agriculture, trade, art, or a profession.
  • noun Financial dealings; buying and selling; traffic in general; mercantile transactions.
  • noun That which one has to do or should do; special service, duty, or mission.
  • noun Affair; concern; matter; -- used in an indefinite sense, and modified by the connected words.
  • noun (Drama) The position, distribution, and order of persons and properties on the stage of a theater, as determined by the stage manager in rehearsal.
  • noun obsolete Care; anxiety; diligence.
  • noun [Colloq.] to ruin one.
  • noun [Colloq.] to occupy one's self with a thing as a special charge or duty.
  • noun [Colloq.] to be earnest.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable A specific commercial enterprise or establishment.
  • noun countable A person's occupation, work, or trade.
  • noun uncountable Commercial, industrial, or professional activity.
  • noun uncountable The volume or amount of commercial trade.
  • noun uncountable One's dealings; patronage.
  • noun uncountable Private commercial interests taken collectively.
  • noun uncountable The management of commercial enterprises, or the study of such management.
  • noun countable A particular situation or activity.
  • noun countable An objective or a matter needing to be dealt with.
  • noun uncountable Something involving one personally.
  • noun uncountable, parliamentary procedure Matters that come before a body for deliberation or action.
  • noun travel, uncountable Business class, the class of seating provided by airlines between first class and coach.
  • noun acting Action carried out with a prop or piece of clothing, usually away from the focus of the scene.
  • noun countable, rare The collective noun for a group of ferrets.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English businesse, from bisi, busy; see busy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English busines, bisynes, from Old English bisiġnes ("business, busyness"), equivalent to busy +‎ -ness. Compare also busyness.


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  • I don't mind being a ferret. It could be worse.

    August 21, 2008

  • Wordnet: "(n): (plural) any group of human beings (men or women or children) collectively"

    So ... we're all ferrets?

    August 21, 2008

  • What does one ferret say to another who's crashed his party?

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    November 16, 2007

  • A group of ferrets

    November 16, 2007