Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English bisynesse, from bisy busy + -nesse -ness
Date: 14th century
1. archaic purposeful activity ; busyness
a. role, function <how the human mind went about its business of learning — H. A. Overstreet> b. an immediate task or objective ; mission <what is your business here> c. a particular field of endeavor <the best in the business> 3. a. a usually commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood ; trade, line <in the restaurant business> b. a commercial or sometimes an industrial enterprise; also such enterprises <the business district> c. dealings or transactions especially of an economic nature ; patronage <took their business elsewhere> 4. affair, matter <the whole business got out of hand> <business as usual> 5. creation, concoction 6. movement or action (as lighting a cigarette) by an actor intended especially to establish atmosphere, reveal character, or explain a situation — called also stage business 7. a. personal concern <none of your business> b. right <you have no business speaking to me that way> 8. a. serious activity requiring time and effort and usually the avoidance of distractions <got down to business> b. maximum effort 9. a. a damaging assault b. rebuke, tongue-lashing c. double cross 10. a bowel movement — used especially of pets Synonyms: business, commerce, trade, industry, traffic mean activity concerned with the supplying and distribution of commodities. business may be an inclusive term but specifically designates the activities of those engaged in the purchase or sale of commodities or in related financial transactions. commerce and trade imply the exchange and transportation of commodities. industry applies to the producing of commodities, especially by manufacturing or processing, usually on a large scale. traffic applies to the operation and functioning of public carriers of goods and persons. Synonym: see in addition work.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.