Business dictionary definition | business defined


(countable and uncountable, plural businesses)

  1. (countable) A specific commercial enterprise or establishment.
    I was left my father’s business.
  2. (countable) A person’s occupation, work, or trade.
    He is in the motor business.
    I’m going to Las Vegas on business.
  3. (uncountable) Commercial, industrial, or professional activity.
    He’s such a poor cook, I can’t believe he’s still in business!
    We do business all over the world.
  4. (uncountable) The volume or amount of commercial trade.
    Business has been slow lately.
    They did nearly a million dollars of business over the long weekend.
  5. (uncountable) One’s dealings; patronage.
    I shall take my business elsewhere.
  6. (uncountable) Private commercial interests taken collectively.
    This proposal will satisfy both business and labor.
  7. (uncountable) The management of commercial enterprises, or the study of such management.
    I studied business at Harvard.
  8. (countable) A particular situation or activity.
    This UFO stuff is a mighty strange business.
  9. (countable) An objective or a matter needing to be dealt with.
    Our principal business here is to get drunk.
    Let’s get down to business.
  10. (uncountable) Something involving one personally.
    That’s none of your business.
  11. (uncountable, parliamentary procedure) Matters that come before a body for deliberation or action.
    If that concludes the announcements, we’ll move on to new business.
  12. (travel, uncountable) Business class, the class of seating provided by airlines between first class and coach.
  13. (acting) Action carried out with a prop or piece of clothing, usually away from the focus of the scene.
  14. (countable, rare) The collective noun for a group of ferrets.
  15. (uncountable, slang, UK) Something very good; top quality. (possibly from “the bee’s knees”)
    These new phones are the business!
  16. (slang, uncountable) Excrement, particularly that of a non-human animal.
    Your ferret left his business all over the floor.
    As the cart went by, its horse lifted its tail and did its business.

From Middle English busines, bisynes, from Old English bisiġnes (“business, busyness”), equivalent to busy +‎ -ness. Compare also busyness.

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