Definition of business noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈbɪznəs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɪznəs//
    Running a business
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  1. 1  [uncountable] the activity of making, buying, selling or supplying goods or services for money synonym commerce, trade business contacts/affairs/interests a business investment It's been a pleasure to do business with you. She has set up in business as a hairdresser. When he left school, he went into business with his brother. She works in the computer business. They were both in the same line of business. Wordfinderboom, business, commerce, embargo, import, market, monopoly, sanction, tariff, trade see also agribusiness, big business, show business Culturethe CityThe business and financial centre of London is called the City or the City of London. It covers an area in east central London north of the River Thames, between Blackfriars Bridge and Tower Bridge. It is only about one square mile/2.5 square kilometres in size and is often referred to as the Square Mile.Many financial institutions have their head offices in the City, including the Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, the London Stock Exchange in Old Broad Street and Lloyd's of London in Lime Street. Many banks, insurance companies and stockbrokers (= companies that buy and sell shares for others) have been in the City many years. When journalists talk about ‘the City’ they are usually not referring to the place but to the people involved in business and commerce, as in: The City had been expecting poor results from the company. In fact, the financial businesses and organizations that are based further east,from the Square Mile, in the area known as Canary Wharf are also included in this extended use of the term ‘the City’.In the City old and new buildings stand next to each other. The most famous older buildings include St Paul's Cathedral, the Guildhall and the Mansion House, where the Lord Mayor of London lives. Tower 42, which is 600 feet/183 metres high, and the Swiss Re Tower, nicknamed ‘the Gherkin’, are two of the City's more recent landmarks. The Shard building, on the south side of the Thames, was opened in 2013 and is currently the tallest building in the European Union. The Barbican Centre includes an art gallery, a theatre and a concert hall, as well as flats/​apartments.Few people live in the City and at night the population is about 7 000. During the day it rises to about half a million, as business people commute (= travel from home to work) to the City by car, bus and train. In the past the traditional image of the City gent was of a businessman in a dark suit and bowler hat, carrying a briefcase (= a leather case for papers, etc.) and a newspaper or an umbrella. The expression She's something in the City means ‘She has an important job with a bank or firm of stockbrokers ’, and suggests wealth and high social status.
  2. work
  3. 2  [uncountable] work that is part of your job Is the trip to Rome business or pleasure? a business lunch He's away on business.
  4. 3  [uncountable] the amount of work done by a company, etc.; the rate or quality of this work Business was bad. Business was booming. Her job was to drum up (= increase) business. How's business? If we close down for repairs, we’ll lose business.
  5. company
  6. 4  [countable] a commercial organization such as a company, shop/store or factory to have/start/run a business business premises She works in the family business. They've got a small catering business. He wanted to expand the export side of the business. CollocationsBusinessRunning a business buy/​acquire/​own/​sell a company/​firm/​franchise set up/​establish/​start/​start up/​launch a business/​company run/​operate a business/​company/​franchise head/​run a firm/​department/​team make/​secure/​win/​block a deal expand/​grow/​build the business boost/​increase investment/​spending/​sales/​turnover/​earnings/​exports/​trade increase/​expand production/​output/​sales boost/​maximize production/​productivity/​efficiency/​income/​revenue/​profit/​profitability achieve/​maintain/​sustain growth/​profitability cut/​reduce/​bring down/​lower/​slash costs/​prices announce/​impose/​make cuts/​cutbacksSales and marketing break into/​enter/​capture/​dominate the market gain/​grab/​take/​win/​boost/​lose market share find/​build/​create a market for something start/​launch an advertising/​a marketing campaign develop/​launch/​promote a product/​website create/​generate demand for your product attract/​get/​retain/​help customers/​clients drive/​generate/​boost/​increase demand/​sales beat/​keep ahead of/​out-think/​outperform the competition meet/​reach/​exceed/​miss sales targetsFinance draw up/​set/​present/​agree/​approve a budget keep to/​balance/​cut/​reduce/​slash the budget be/​come in below/​under/​over/​within budget generate income/​revenue/​profit/​funds/​business fund/​finance a campaign/​a venture/​an expansion/​spending/​a deficit provide/​raise/​allocate capital/​funds attract/​encourage investment/​investors recover/​recoup costs/​losses/​an investment get/​obtain/​offer somebody/​grant somebody credit/​a loan apply for/​raise/​secure/​arrange/​provide financeFailure lose business/​trade/​customers/​sales/​revenue accumulate/​accrue/​incur/​run up debts suffer/​sustain enormous/​heavy/​serious losses face cuts/​a deficit/​redundancy/​bankruptcy file for/ (North American English) enter/​avoid/​escape bankruptcy (British English) go into administration/​liquidation liquidate/​wind up a company survive/​weather a recession/​downturn propose/​seek/​block/​oppose a merger launch/​make/​accept/​defeat a takeover bid Wordfinderagent, business, company, competitor, customer, director, employ, franchise, manager, shareholder See related entries: Running a business
  7. responsibility
  8. 5  [uncountable] something that concerns a particular person or organization It is the business of the police to protect the community. I shall make it my business to find out who is responsible. My private life is none of your business (= does not concern you). It's no business of yours who I invite to the party.
  9. important matters
  10. 6  [uncountable] important matters that need to be dealt with or discussed the main business of the meeting He has some unfinished business to deal with.
  11. event
  12. 7[singular] (usually with an adjective) a matter, an event or a situation That plane crash was a terrible business. I found the whole business very depressing. The business of the missing tickets hasn't been sorted out.
  13. being a customer
  14. 8(especially North American English) (also British English, formal custom) [uncountable] the fact of a person or people buying goods or services at a shop/store or business We're grateful for your business.
  15. Word OriginOld English bisignis ‘anxiety’ (see busy, -ness); the sense ‘state of being busy’ was used from Middle English down to the 18th cent., but is now differentiated as busyness. The use ‘appointed task’ dates from late Middle English, and from it all the other current senses have developed.Extra examples After a slack period business is now picking up. After leaving school she entered the family business. After six months the business really took off. Business has slowed considerably in recent months. Business is booming for estate agents in the south as the property market hots up. Business is booming for the big pharmaceutical companies. Business was brisk and they had sold out by midday. Changing your life can be a risky business. Cheap imports are hurting business for domestic producers. Having fun is a serious business. He argues that tax cuts will help business. He left the department to start his own business. He needs time and space to get on with the real business of writing. He owns a management consulting business based in Santa Barbara. He says he’s going to make changes, and I think he means business. He spent his whole life in the insurance business. He wore a business suit. He works in the family business. He’s someone I can do business with. I shall make it my business to find out who is responsible. I think we’ve finished item four. Now, is there any other business? I was just sitting there, minding my own business, when a man started shouting at me. I’ll be glad when the whole business is over and done with. I’m going to Paris on business. I’m just glad to be out of the whole dirty business. I’m not going to talk business tonight. Is the trip to Rome business or pleasure? It was a bad business—he couldn’t work for months. It was always my dream to run my own business. It was purely a business decision. It’s business as usual at the factory, even while investigators sift through the bomb wreckage. It’s good business practice to listen to your customers. It’s time to focus on the company’s core business. Jack and I finished our business early, so we went to lunch. Keep your nose out of my business! Meals are considered a business expense. My private life is none of your business. Nobody understands the music business better than him. OK, let’s get down to business. Our repeat business is 50% or higher. Retail is a tough business. She had her own hairdressing business. She runs a successful online business. She’s in Europe drumming up business for her new company. Supermarkets are doing more online business. The business is expanding fast. The company went out of business during the recession. The company’s offices are located in the new business park out of town. The family owns a booming construction business. The new regulations will put many small companies out of business. These laws make life more difficult for legitimate businesses. They decided to start their own business. They developed a lasting business relationship. They’re doing good business in Asia. They’ve cut their rates to attract new business. This isn’t a social call—I’ve come on official business. Traditional businesses are having to compete with the Internet. We are looking to grow the business over the next couple of years. We built up the business from nothing. We have some unfinished business to discuss. We took on temporary staff to handle the extra business. We’re losing business to our main rivals. We’re not trying to educate—we’re in the entertainment business. What business are you in? When I travel abroad I like to mix business with pleasure. You can call the helpline during normal business hours. You have no business= no right being here. a business model for using electronic commerce a company that has ceased to carry on business a conference of women business leaders insurance salesmen touting for business loans for people to start new businesses market traders going about their daily business protecting business secrets the city’s main business district to protect business secrets Almost all businesses will be closed on Christmas Day. Falling prices are wreaking havoc in the oil business. Going to trade fairs is a good way of developing business contacts. Her job was to drum up business. How’s business? I’ve decided to start my own business. If we close down for repairs, we’ll lose business. It was not his habit to discuss his business affairs with strangers. It’s been a pleasure to do business with you. It’s no business of yours who I invite to the party. She has business interests all over the world. She’s away on business. Stores are doing brisk business in wizard accessories and vampire kits. The average business trip lasts 2.5 days. The business of the missing tickets hasn’t been sorted out. The restaurant is every executive’s favourite place for a business lunch. There are strong links between politics and big business. They’ve got a small catering business. This legislation will hurt small businesses. We’re looking for new business premises. When he left school he went into business with his brother. a business trip/​lunch the catering/​hotel/​entertainment/​advertising/​insurance business. the energy/​oil/​food business.Idioms the things that are discussed at the end of an official meeting that do not appear on the agenda I think we've finished item four. Now is there any other business? see also AOB See related entries: Running a business (informal) to be very good (informal) to have everything that you need in order to be able to start something immediately All we need is a car and we'll be in business. a way of saying that things will continue as normal despite a difficult situation a way of saying that financial and commercial matters are the important things to consider and you should not be influenced by friendship, etc. to start dealing with the matter that needs to be dealt with, or doing the work that needs to be done Let’s get down to business right away—we’ll stop for coffee later. to do the things that you normally do streets filled with people going about their daily business
    have no business doing something, have no business to do something
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    to have no right to do something You have no business being here.
    like nobody’s business
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    (British English, informal) very much, very fast, very well, etc. I've been working like nobody's business to get it finished in time.
    (informal) to be serious in your intentions He has the look of a man who means business. (informal) to think about your own affairs and not ask questions about or try to get involved in other people’s lives ‘What are you reading?’ ‘Mind your own business!’ I was just sitting there, minding my own business, when a man started shouting at me.
    not be in the business of doing something
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    not to be intending to do something (which it would be surprising for you to do) I'm not in the business of getting other people to do my work for me.
    having stopped operating as a business because there is no more money or work available The new regulations will put many small businesses out of business. Some travel companies will probably go out of business this summer.
    ply for hire/trade/business
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    (British English) to look for customers, passengers, etc. in order to do business taxis plying for hire outside the theatre
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: business