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

  • adj. Showing or having characteristics advantageous to or of use in business; methodical and systematic.
  • adj. Purposeful; earnest.
  • adj. Practical; unemotional: The couple maintained a businesslike attitude toward their divorce.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Methodical and efficient, in a way that would be advantageous to a business or businessperson
  • adj. Earnest and practical without being distracted or enthusiastic

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. In the manner of one transacting business wisely and by right methods; practical and efficient.
  • adj. serious and purposeful.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Such as prevails or ought to prevail in the conduct of business; methodical and thorough.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. exhibiting methodical and systematic characteristics that would be useful in business
  • adj. not distracted by anything unrelated to the goal


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

business +‎ -like


  • "Where's your card?" she demanded in businesslike tones.

    South of the Slot

  • “Where’s your card?” she demanded in businesslike tones.


  • The meeting with Mr. Hu was described as businesslike by senior White House officials, who said the main hot-button issue -- Beijing's suggestion that a new global currency replace the dollar -- didn't come up.

    Obama Hits Resistance at G-20

  • The meeting was described as businesslike by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Crocker.

    CNN Transcript May 28, 2007

  • We're expecting it'll be very much like what Press Secretary Tony Snow described as the businesslike session yesterday that the president had, with the incoming House Democratic leadership.

    CNN Transcript Nov 10, 2006

  • Minister Gordon Brown as they look for their own optimum cuts in their relations which have been described as another businesslike, volatile relationship; according to the article written by Roland news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

  • A novelist sometimes derogatorily referred to as "businesslike" for his methodical writing habits, Anthony Trollope reveled in the drama of business in "The Way We Live Now," a satire of financial speculation in 19th-century England.

    Great Literature About Business

  • The White House described Wednesday's meeting as "businesslike," a chance to compare notes on a sweep of economic and security issues, and vow stronger cooperation.

    Obama to Visit China, Resume Dialogue

  • The "businesslike" and "professional" question from "an occasional, if also slightly reluctant, snarkling " spawned a question in the echoing recesses of what passes for my brain, these days.

    Archive 2006-06-04

  • How exactly is "businesslike" defined as it pertains to writers?

    Nitwittery Follow up


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  • Just about(1) the only word where the suffix '-like' doesn't transparently mean "like a _". Recommendation: do not hyphenate. *rubber stamp* Next!

    Footnote 1: That means I can't think of any others.

    September 4, 2008