business – Dictionary of English

WordReference Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English © 2020

busi•ness /ˈbɪznɪs/USA pronunciation  

  1. Business the buying and selling of goods for profit;
    commerce:[uncountable]majored in business at her university.
  2. Business a person or corporation that buys and sells goods:[countable]started a business from the ground up.
  3. Business a store, office, etc., where trade is carried on:[countable]a small business on Main Street.
  4. Business amount or volume of trade:[uncountable]Business is up (= The amount of trade is increasing).
  5. something with which a person is rightfully concerned:[uncountable]Words are a writer’s business.
  6. affair;
    activity:[uncountable]I’m fed up with the whole business.
  7. the business, [uncountable] harsh or rough treatment, such as a scolding:gave him the business for missing such an easy catch.

adj. [before a noun]

  1. of or relating to business:studying business journalism.


  1. Idiomsget down to business, to apply oneself to serious matters:That’s enough small talk; let’s get down to business.
  2. Idiomshave no business,  [+ verb-ing] to have no right:You had no business breaking into my office.
  3. Idioms(to) mean business, to be completely serious:I think the gunman means business.
  4. Idiomsmind one’s own business, to keep from meddling in the affairs of others:kept telling her to mind her own business.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020

(biznis),USA pronunciation n. 

  1. Businessan occupation, profession, or trade:His business is poultry farming.
  2. Businessthe purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.
  3. Businessa person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service;
    profit-seeking enterprise or concern.
  4. Businessvolume of trade;
    patronage:Most of the store’s business comes from local families.
  5. Businessa building or site where commercial work is carried on, as a factory, store, or office;
    place of work:His business is on the corner of Broadway and Elm Street.
  6. that with which a person is principally and seriously concerned:Words are a writer’s business.
  7. something with which a person is rightfully concerned:What they are doing is none of my business.
  8. affair;
    project:We were exasperated by the whole business.
  9. an assignment or task;
    chore:It’s your business to wash the dishes now.
  10. Show BusinessAlso called  piece of business, stage business. [Theat.]a movement or gesture, esp. a minor one, used by an actor to give expressiveness, drama, detail, etc., to a scene or to help portray a character.
  11. excrement: used as a euphemism.
  12. Idiomsbusiness is business, profit has precedence over personal considerations:He is reluctant to fire his friend, but business is business.
  13. Idiomsdo one’s business, (usually of an animal or child) to defecate or urinate:housebreaking a puppy to do his business outdoors.
  14. Idiomsget down to business, to apply oneself to serious matters;
    concentrate on work:They finally got down to business and signed the contract.
  15. Idioms, Informal Termsgive someone the business, [Informal.]
    • to make difficulties for someone;
      treat harshly:Instead of a straight answer they give him the business with a needless run-around.
    • to scold severely;
      give a tongue-lashing to:The passengers will give the bus driver the business if he keeps driving so recklessly.

  16. Idiomshave no business, to have no right:You have no business coming into this house.
  17. Idiomsmean business, to propose to take action or be serious in intent;
    be in earnest:By the fire in his eye we knew that he meant business.
  18. Idiomsmind one’s own business, to refrain from meddling in the affairs of others:When he inquired about the noise coming from the neighbor’s apartment, he was told to mind his own business.


  1. of, noting, or pertaining to business, its organization, or its procedures.
  2. containing, suitable for, or welcoming business or commerce:New York is a good business town.
  • bef. 950; Middle English; Old English bisignes. See busy,ness

    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged calling, vocation, employment. See  occupation. 
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged commerce, trade, traffic.
    • 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged company, firm.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

business /ˈbɪznɪs/ n

  1. a trade or profession
  2. an industrial, commercial, or professional operation; purchase and sale of goods and services
  3. a commercial or industrial establishment, such as a firm or factory
  4. commercial activity; dealings (esp in the phrase do business)
  5. volume or quantity of commercial activity: business is poor today
  6. commercial policy or procedure: overcharging is bad business
  7. proper or rightful concern or responsibility (often in the phrase mind one’s own business)
  8. a special task; assignment
  9. an affair; matter
  10. serious work or activity: get down to business
  11. a complicated affair; rigmarole
  12. Also called: stage business an incidental action, such as lighting a pipe, performed by an actor for dramatic effect
  13. mean businessto be in earnest
  14. do the businessinformal to achieve what is required: it tastes vile, but it does the business

Etymology: Old English bisignis solicitude, attentiveness, from bisig busy + -nis -ness

business‘ also found in these entries:

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