Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To play music or perform entertainment in a public place, usually while soliciting money.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An obsolete form of bush.
  • To get ready; prepare; equip; dress: as, to busk a fish-hook.
  • To use; employ.
  • To get ready and go; hasten; hurry.
  • To seek; hunt up and down; cast about; beat about.
  • Nautical, to beat to windward along a coast; cruise off and on.
  • To cruise as a pirate.
  • To earn a livelihood by going about singing, playing, and selling ballads, or as an acrobat, juggler, etc., in public houses, steamboats, on the street, etc.
  • noun A stiffened body-garment, as a doublet, corset, or bodice.
  • noun A flexible strip of wood, steel, whalebone, or other stiffening material, placed in the front of stays to keep them in form.
  • noun An Indian feast of first fruits.

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

  • noun Among the Creek Indians, a feast of first fruits celebrated when the corn is ripe enough to be eaten. The feast usually continues four days. On the first day the new fire is lighted, by friction of wood, and distributed to the various households, an offering of green corn, including an ear brought from each of the four quarters or directions, is consumed, and medicine is brewed from snakeroot. On the second and third days the men physic with the medicine, the women bathe, the two sexes are taboo to one another, and all fast. On the fourth day there are feasting, dancing, and games.
  • noun A thin, elastic strip of metal, whalebone, wood, or other material, worn in the front of a corset.
  • verb Scot. & Old Eng. To prepare; to make ready; to array; to dress.
  • verb obsolete To go; to direct one's course.

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

  • noun obsolete A kind of linen.
  • noun A strip of metal, whalebone, wood, or other material, worn in the front of a corset to stiffen it.
  • noun by extension A corset.
  • verb intransitive To solicit money by entertaining the public in the street or in public transport
  • verb nautical To tack, to cruise about.
  • verb To prepare; to make ready; to array; to dress.

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

  • verb play music in a public place and solicit money for it

Etymologies

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

[Earlier, to be an itinerant performer, probably from busk, to go about seeking, cruise as a pirate, perhaps from obsolete French busquer, to prowl, from Italian buscare, to prowl, or Spanish buscar, to seek, from Old Spanish boscar.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Etymology unknown

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French busc, by dissimilation from buste from Italian busto.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Apparently from French busquer or Spanish buscar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English busken, from Old Norse búask

Examples

  • Jamieson (Scottish Dictionary) says: "The term busk is employed in a beautiful proverb which is very commonly used in Scotland, 'A bonny bride is soon busked. '"

    Jasmin: Barber, Poet, Philanthropist

  • Jamieson (Scottish Dictionary) says: "The term busk is employed in a beautiful proverb which is very commonly used in Scotland,

    Jasmin: Barber, Poet, Philanthropist

  • To busk is to play music on the street or subway, likely with an instrument case laid open so passersby can toss money in appreciation.

    Singing a Song for All

  • Indeed, her laudable anxiety to be tidy and compact in her own conscience as well as in the public eye, gave rise to one of her most startling evolutions, which was to grasp herself sometimes by a sort of wooden handle (part of her clothing, and familiarly called a busk), and wrestle as it were with her garments, until they fell into a symmetrical arrangement.

    The Battle of Life

  • Indeed, her laudable anxiety to be tidy and compact in her own conscience as well as in the public eye, gave rise to one of her most startling evolutions, which was to grasp herself sometimes by a sort of wooden handle (part of her clothing, and familiarly called a busk), and wrestle as it were with her garments, until they fell into a symmetrical arrangement.

    The Battle of Life

  • Indeed, her laudable anxiety to be tidy and compact in her own conscience as well as in the public eye, gave rise to one of her most startling evolutions, which was to grasp herself sometimes by a sort of wooden handle (part of her clothing, and familiarly called a busk), and wrestle as it were with her garments, until they fell into a symmetrical arrangement.

    Battle of Life

  • The schoolmistress in those days wore what was called a busk -- a flat piece of lancewood, hornbeam, or some other like tough and elastic wood, thrust into a sort of pocket or sheath in her dress, which came up almost to the chin and came down below the waist.

    Autobiography of Seventy Years, Vol. 1-2

  • This look was achieved by inserting a skinny piece of bone or wood, called a busk, in a corset extending from the chest to low on the abdomen and forcing the body into an "S" shape.

    Columbia Missourian: Latest Articles

  • This look was achieved by inserting a skinny piece of bone or wood, called a busk, in a corset extending from the chest to low on the abdomen and forcing the body into an "S" shape.

    Columbia Missourian: Latest Articles

  • Would it not be well if we were to celebrate such a "busk," or "feast of first fruits," as Bartram describes to have been the custom of the Mucclasse Indians?

    Walden, or Life in the woods

Comments

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  • ..ladies' busks wrought out of the Right Whale-bone, and other like skrimshander articles, as the whalemen call the numerous little ingenious contrivances they elaborately carve out of the rough material...

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 57

    July 25, 2008

  • Busk >>> from O.N. buask "to make oneself ready"

    September 17, 2011

  • feast of first fruits among Creek Indians.

    February 8, 2013

  • Boscar - to beat about the bushes ( Old Spanish)

    May 3, 2013