Definition of busy adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈbɪzi//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɪzi//
    (busier, busiest)
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    doing something
  1. 1  having a lot to do; perhaps not free to do something else because you are working on something Are you busy tonight? I'm afraid the doctor is busy at the moment. Can he call you back? I'll be too busy to come to the meeting. The principal is a very busy woman. She was always too busy to listen. a very busy life busy with something/somebody Kate's busy with her homework.
  2. 2  busy (doing something) spending a lot of time on something James is busy practising for the school concert. Let's get busy with the clearing up. They were busy enjoying themselves at the party.
  3. place
  4. 3  full of people, activity, vehicles, etc. a busy main road Victoria is one of London's busiest stations.
  5. period of time
  6. 4  full of work and activity Have you had a busy day? This is one of the busiest times of the year for the department. We had a busy weekend lined up.
  7. telephone
  8. 5  (especially North American English) being used synonym engaged The line is busy—I'll try again later. the busy signal CollocationsPhonesMaking and receiving phone calls the phone/​telephone rings answer/​pick up/​hang up the phone/​telephone lift/​pick up/​hold/​replace the receiver dial a (phone/​extension/​wrong) number/​an area code call somebody/​talk (to somebody)/speak (to somebody) on the phone/​telephone; from home/​work/​the office make/​get/​receive a phone call take the phone off the hook (= remove the receiver so that the phone does not ring) the line is (British English) engaged/ (especially North American English) busy the phones have been (North American English) ringing off the hook (= ringing frequently) put somebody through/​get through to the person you want to speak to put somebody on hold (= so that they must wait for the person they want to speak to) call from/​use a landlineMobile/​cell phones be/​talk on a (both British English) mobile phone/​mobile/(especially North American English) cell phone/(informal, especially North American English) cell use/​answer/​call (somebody on)/get a message on your mobile phone/​mobile/​cell phone/​cell switch/​turn on/​off your mobile phone/​mobile/​cell phone/​cell charge/​recharge your mobile phone/​mobile/​cell phone/​cell a mobile/​cell phone is on/​is off/​rings/​goes off (British English) top up your mobile (phone) send/​receive a text (message)/an SMS (message)/a fax insert/​remove/​change a SIM card
  9. pattern/design
  10. 6too full of small details This wallpaper is too busy for the bedroom.
  11. Word OriginOld English bisgian (verb), bisig (noun); related to Dutch bezig, of unknown origin. Word OriginOld English bisgian (verb), bisig (noun); related to Dutch bezig, of unknown origin.Extra examples I’ve got enough work to keep you busy. She needed to keep busy. She was busy with her make-up. Have you had a busy day? I’m afraid the doctor is busy at the moment. Can he call you back? Let’s get busy with the clearing up. Victoria is one of London’s busiest stations. We have to cross a busy main road to get to school.Idioms very busy More Like ThisSimiles in idioms (as) bald as a coot, (as) blind as a bat, (as) bright as a button, (as) bold as brass, as busy as a bee, as clean as a whistle, (as) dead as a/​the dodo, (as) deaf as a post, (as) dull as ditchwater, (as) fit as a fiddle, as flat as a pancake, (as) good as gold, (as) mad as a hatter/​a March hare, (as) miserable/​ugly as sin, as old as the hills, (as) pleased as Punch, as pretty as a picture, (as) regular as clockwork, (as) quick as a flash, (as) safe as houses, (as) sound as a bell, (as) steady as a rock, (as) thick as two short planks, (as) tough as old bootsSee worksheet. to find enough things to do Since she retired she's kept herself very busy.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: busy