- a trade or profession
- an industrial, commercial, or professional operation; purchase and sale of goods and services
- a commercial or industrial establishment, such as a firm or factory
- commercial activity; dealings (esp in the phrase do business)
- volume or quantity of commercial activity: business is poor today
- commercial policy or procedure: overcharging is bad business
- proper or rightful concern or responsibility (often in the phrase mind one's own business)
- a special task; assignment
- an affair; matter
- serious work or activity: get down to business
- a complicated affair; rigmarole
- Also called: stage business an incidental action, such as lighting a pipe, performed by an actor for dramatic effect
- mean business ⇒ to be in earnest
- do the business ⇒ informal to achieve what is required: it tastes vile, but it does the business
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- Business the buying and selling of goods for profit;
commerce:[uncountable]majored in business at her university.
- Business a person or corporation that buys and sells goods:[countable]started a business from the ground up.
- Business a store, office, etc., where trade is carried on:[countable]a small business on Main Street.
- Business amount or volume of trade:[uncountable]Business is up (= The amount of trade is increasing).
- something with which a person is rightfully concerned:[uncountable]Words are a writer's business.
activity:[uncountable]I'm fed up with the whole business.
- 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]
- of or relating to business:studying business journalism.
- Idiomsget down to business, to apply oneself to serious matters:That's enough small talk; let's get down to business.
- Idiomshave no business, [~ + verb-ing] to have no right:You had no business breaking into my office.
- Idioms(to) mean business, to be completely serious:I think the gunman means business.
- Idiomsmind one's own business, to keep from meddling in the affairs of others:kept telling her to mind her own business.
- Businessan occupation, profession, or trade:His business is poultry farming.
- Businessthe purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.
- Businessa person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service;
profit-seeking enterprise or concern.
- Businessvolume of trade;
patronage:Most of the store's business comes from local families.
- 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.
- that with which a person is principally and seriously concerned:Words are a writer's business.
- something with which a person is rightfully concerned:What they are doing is none of my business.
project:We were exasperated by the whole business.
- an assignment or task;
chore:It's your business to wash the dishes now.
- 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.
- excrement: used as a euphemism.
- Idiomsbusiness is business, profit has precedence over personal considerations:He is reluctant to fire his friend, but business is business.
- Idiomsdo one's business, (usually of an animal or child) to defecate or urinate:housebreaking a puppy to do his business outdoors.
- Idiomsget down to business, to apply oneself to serious matters;
concentrate on work:They finally got down to business and signed the contract.
- 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.
- to make difficulties for someone;
- Idiomshave no business, to have no right:You have no business coming into this house.
- 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.
- 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.
- of, noting, or pertaining to business, its organization, or its procedures.
- 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.
- See isn't.