Meaning of BUSY in English


I. bus ‧ y 1 S1 W2 /ˈbɪzi/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative busier , superlative busiest )

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: bisig ]

1 . PERSON if you are busy, you are working hard and have a lot of things to do:

She’s busy now – can you phone later?

a busy mother of four

busy with

Mr Haynes is busy with a customer at the moment.

busy doing something

Rachel’s busy studying for her exams.

There were lots of activities to keep the kids busy.

2 . TIME a busy period of time is full of work or other activities:

December is the busiest time of year for shops.

a busy day

He took time out of his busy schedule to visit us.

3 . PLACE a busy place is very full of people or vehicles and movement:

We live on a very busy road.

4 . TELEPHONE especially American English if a telephone you are calling is busy, it makes a repeated sound to tell you that the person you are calling is talking on their telephone SYN engaged British English :

I called Sonya, but her line was busy.

I keep getting a busy signal.

5 . PATTERN a pattern or design that is busy is too full of small details – used to show disapproval

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■ person

▪ busy if you are busy, you have a lot of things you need to do:

Sorry I haven’t called you, but I’ve been really busy.


a busy housewife


Angela was becoming more and more unhappy, but her husband was too busy to notice.


Not now Stephen, I’m busy.


Alex is busy studying for his exams.

▪ rushed/run off your feet [not before noun] especially British English spoken very busy and in a hurry, because you have too many things to do:

We’ve been absolutely rushed off our feet getting ready for our son’s birthday party.

▪ snowed under [not before noun] especially British English so busy that you can hardly deal with all the work you have to do:

I can’t stop for lunch today – I’m completely snowed under.


We’ve been snowed under with applications for the job.

▪ up to your ears/neck in something [not before noun] informal extremely busy because you have a lot of work to deal with:

Teachers say they are up to their ears in paperwork and don’t have enough time for teaching.

▪ tied up [not before noun] busy in your job, so that you cannot do anything else:

I’m sorry, but he’s tied up at the moment. Could you call back later?


I can’t see you tomorrow: I’m tied up all day.

▪ have a lot to do especially spoken to have to do a lot of things, so that you need to hurry or work hard:

Let’s get started – we have a lot to do.

▪ have a lot on British English , have a lot going on American English especially spoken to be busy, especially because you have arranged to do a lot of things during a particular period:

I’ve got a lot on this weekend.


He says he’ll try and see you as soon as possible, but he has a lot going on this afternoon.

■ time

▪ busy use this about times when you have a lot of things you need to do:

We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow.


July and August are our busiest times.

▪ hectic a hectic time or situation is extremely busy, so that you are always in a hurry and often feel excited or worried:

It was really hectic at work today.


The band had a hectic recording schedule.

▪ the rush hour the time in the morning and evening when a lot of people are travelling to or from work:

The buses are so crowded during the rush hour you never get a seat.


In most British cities the rush hour does not start until about 8 o'clock.

II. busy 2 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle busied , present participle busying , third person singular busies ) [transitive]

busy yourself with something to use your time dealing with something:

He busied himself with answering letters.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.