Definitions

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.

Etymologies

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.

Examples

  • Follow the latest business news, comment and analysis on Twitter jilltreanor: Quite astonishing that the banks are not compelled to provide details of their own lending commitments under Project Merlin #business about 13 hours, 46 minutes ago jilltreanor: There is nothing in Project Merlin that appears to "force" banks to lend.

    Letters: Ideas, patents and the yellow digger

  • He started in again about business, without explaining exactly _what _business he was in.

    The Body Ricardo

  • I understand that companies that have losing business models often find it more profitable to invest outside of their business**, but GM seems to have found the only investment on the planet worse than their own stock.

    Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » What the Hell Where They Thinking?

  • The ­secrets of business, he said, were to be found in ­history, literature and the classic ruminations on life and existence, not in the half-baked ramblings of ­business academics, consultants and “gurus.”

    Bogus Theories, Bad for Business

  • Virgil Thomson wrote crushingly of "Porgy and Bess" that "it is clear, by now, that Gershwin hasn't learned the business of being a serious composer, which one has ­always gathered to be the ­business he wanted to learn," though Thomson spoke more kindly of him off the record.

    Rhapsody Imbued

  • While it is true that existing solutions are probably sufficient for the casual user (although we are still faster, more reliable and have bluetooth support) – when you need to use a mobile business card for * business*, you cannot, must not and will not use a solution that is unreliable across platforms, gimmicky or iPhone-only.

    BeamME Pro Update Hits the App Store

  • QUOTATION: We believe that there is one economic lesson which our twentieth century experience has demonstrated conclusively—that America can no more survive and grow without big business than it can survive and grow without small business…. the two are interdependent.

    Benjamin Franklin Fairless (1890-1962)

  • _When to quit business = When they are to quit business_, or _When they ought to quit business_.

    Higher Lessons in English A work on english grammar and composition

  • _ (Reports, unfinished business, and new business_.) _C_: Is there one fit to join our Wigwam?

    The Minister and the Boy A Handbook for Churchmen Engaged in Boys' Work

  • For men’s eyes are upon the business, and not upon the persons; or if upon the persons, it is for the business’ sake, as fittest, and not for flags and pedigree.

    XIV. Of Nobility

Comments

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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?

    I don't get all up in *your* business!

    November 16, 2007

  • A group of ferrets

    November 16, 2007