Busy: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
October 4, 2023

1. Busy (adjective): Engaged in action or activity, and thus not available to do something else.
2. Busy (adjective): Full of activity or people; having a lot going on.
3. Busy (adjective): Excessively detailed or decorated; visually cluttered.
4. Busy (adjective): Refers to a telephone line already in use, preventing another call from coming through.
5. Busy (verb): To occupy oneself with a task or activity.

The term "busy" describes being occupied with something, often an activity or task. As an adjective, it indicates having a large amount to do or being engaged in purposeful work. Understanding the nuances of "busy" provides clarity when discussing schedules, responsibilities, and productivity.

"Busy" Definition: What Does "Busy" Mean?

The word "busy" describes a state where someone or something is actively engaged in an activity or task. It can imply a temporary condition of being occupied or suggest a chronic state of having too much to do. It can also refer to designs or patterns that are overly detailed or cluttered.

  • Occupationally Busy: Engaged in work-related tasks, often to the point of not having free time.
  • Personally Busy: Filled with personal tasks or activities, such as errands, hobbies, or familial duties.
  • Visually Busy: Describing a design, pattern, or scene overloaded with details or elements.
  • To Keep Oneself Busy: Engaging in activities to pass the time or distract oneself.

Parts of Speech

The word "busy" is primarily used as an adjective to describe a state of activity. However, it can also function as a verb, especially in the context of occupying oneself with tasks.

How to Pronounce "Busy"?

The word "busy" is pronounced as ˈbɪzi. It's broken down into two syllables: the first, "bus," sounds similar to "biz," and the second, "y," is pronounced like "ee." When combined, the word is articulated as "biz-ee."

Phonetic Pronunciation: ˈbɪzi (Stress on 'bɪz')

Synonyms of "Busy": Other Ways to Say "Busy"

The term "busy" has various synonyms, depending on the context in which it is used.

  • Occupied
  • Engaged
  • Active
  • Bustling
  • Hectic
  • Preoccupied

Antonyms of "Busy": Other Ways to Say "Busy"

Contrasting the state of being engaged or active, the antonyms of "busy" typically denote inactivity or availability.

  • Idle
  • Free
  • Available
  • Unoccupied

Examples of "Busy" in a Sentence

The word "busy" can be used in various contexts to describe different levels and types of engagement or activity.

Here are ten sentences that demonstrate its diverse applications:

1. The busy city center always makes parking a challenge.
2. I've been so busy at work that I haven't had time to call you.
3. The wallpaper design is too busy for such a small room.
4. I'll be busy tomorrow but I'll still inquire about the meeting details.
5. The coffee shop is always busy in the mornings.
6. I won't be available this weekend; my schedule is too busy.
7. She welcomed her guests with a smile, even though she was busy preparing.
8. The children busied themselves with drawing while waiting for dinner.
9. The market was busy with vendors setting up their stalls.
10. "Long time no talk," she said, explaining how her busy schedule kept her away.

Frequency of Use

The word "busy" is a commonly used adjective in English, particularly in modern life, where many individuals often find themselves juggling various tasks and responsibilities. As a reflection of the fast-paced nature of contemporary society, "busy" is frequently encountered in conversations about work, schedules, and daily life. Its prevalence in everyday language underscores its relevance in capturing the dynamics of contemporary living.

Variants of "Busy"

"Busy" primarily stands as an adjective in English, though it can be adapted into various forms to serve different grammatical purposes.

1. Busied (verb, past tense): Engaged oneself or another in activity.
2. Busying (verb, present participle): Engaging in activity or keeping oneself occupied.

Related Terms to "Busy"

The term "busy" is associated with various related words that resonate with the idea of being occupied or engaged.

1. Active
2. Engaged
3. Preoccupied
4. Occupied
5. Involved
6. Working
7. Booked
8. Hectic

Etymology: History and Origins of "Busy"

The word "busy" has its origins in Middle English, where it was spelled as "busy" or "busie." It was derived from Old English "bisiġ," which means "busy, occupied, diligent." This Old English term can be traced back to Proto-West Germanic, where the word "*bisīg" was used to describe someone who is "diligent, zealous, or busy." Over the centuries, the term has retained its core meaning, signifying someone actively engaged in tasks or occupied with work.

Derivatives and Compounds of "Busy"

"Busy" has given rise to various derivatives and compound terms that encompass its essence of engagement or activity.

1. Busyness: The quality or state of being busy or active.
2. Busybody: A person who meddles or pries into others' affairs.
3. Busily: In a busy or active manner.

Common Misspellings of "Busy"

While "busy" is a simple word, it can sometimes be misspelled, especially when typed in haste.

Here are some common misspellings of "busy":

1. Bussy
2. Buisy
3. Buzi

10 Idioms Similar to "Busy"

Various idioms capture the essence of being busy or engaged in activity.

1. Burning the candle at both ends
2. As busy as a bee
3. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off
4. All hands on deck
5. Up to one's ears/eyeballs
6. On the go
7. Have a lot on one's plate
8. In over one's head
9. No rest for the wicked
10. Flat out like a lizard drinking

10 Common Questions About "Busy"

Given its widespread usage, "busy" often gives rise to various questions related to its meaning and usage.

1. What does it mean when someone says they are "too busy"?

It means the person has many activities or tasks, making it hard to manage additional ones.

2. Can "busy" be used as a verb?

Yes, "busy" can be used as a verb, as in "busying oneself with a task."

3. Is "busy" always related to work or professional tasks?

No, "busy" can relate to any activity, including leisure, hobbies, or personal responsibilities.

4. What's the opposite of "busy"?

The opposite of "busy" can be "idle," "free," or "unoccupied."

5. How can I convey that I am extremely busy?

Phrases like "swamped," "overwhelmed," or "up to my neck" can convey extreme busyness.

6. Is "busyness" a real word?

Yes, "busyness" is a noun form of "busy," referring to the state of being active or occupied.

7. How can one manage a "busy" schedule effectively?

Effective time management, prioritization, delegation of tasks, and setting boundaries can help manage a busy schedule.

8. Is being "busy" always a good thing?

Not necessarily. While being busy can signify productivity, excessive busyness without purpose can lead to burnout and stress.

9. Can places or things be described as "busy"?

Yes, places like a market can be described as "busy" if they're crowded, and things like patterns can be called "busy" if they have a lot of details.

10. How do cultures view "busyness" differently?

Different cultures have varied perspectives on busyness. While some cultures equate busyness with success and productivity, others may value leisure and relaxation more.


"Busy" is a term that encapsulates a state of engagement and activity. It resonates deeply in today's fast-paced world, where time is a precious commodity. Whether discussing schedules, lifestyles, or patterns, "busy" offers a window into the dynamics of activity and preoccupation. Explore more definitions on our platform to enhance your linguistic prowess and communication skills.

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