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an occupation, profession, or trade:
His business is poultry farming.
the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.
a person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern.
volume of trade; patronage:
Most of the store’s business comes from local families.
a 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.
affair; project:
We were exasperated by the whole business.
an assignment or task; chore:
It’s your business to wash the dishes now.
Also called piece of business, stage business. Theater. a movement or gesture, especially 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.
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.
business is business, profit has precedence over personal considerations:
He is reluctant to fire his friend, but business is business.
do one’s business, (usually of an animal or child) to defecate or urinate:
housebreaking a puppy to do his business outdoors.
get down to business, to apply oneself to serious matters; concentrate on work:
They finally got down to business and signed the contract.
give 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.

have no business, to have no right:
You have no business coming into this house.
mean 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.
mind 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.
Contemporary Examples

Warren Buffett Slams Debt Ceiling Drama as “Damn Dumb” CNBC September 19, 2013
The Free-Market Cluelessness of Bitcoin Enthusiasts Daniel Gross March 6, 2014
NBC’s ‘Dracula’ Sure Is Sexy, But It Isn’t Scary Kevin Fallon October 24, 2013
A New Blueprint for Innovation Beth Comstock January 26, 2011
Supreme Court Takes Up Controversial Arizona Immigration Law Laura Colarusso April 23, 2012

Historical Examples

Cyclopedia of Commerce, Accountancy, Business Administration v. 2 Various
Jack O’ Judgment Edgar Wallace
Raleigh Edmund Gosse
The Skilful Cook Mary Harrison
Little Miss Grouch Samuel Hopkins Adams

a trade or profession
an industrial, commercial, or professional operation; purchase and sale of goods and services: the tailoring business
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
a matter or matters to be attended to: the business of the meeting
an affair; matter: a queer business, I’m tired of the whole business
serious work or activity: get down to business
a complicated affair; rigmarole
(informal) a vaguely defined collection or area: jets, fast cars, and all that business
(theatre) Also called stage business. an incidental action, such as lighting a pipe, performed by an actor for dramatic effect
a group of ferrets
(euphemistic) defecation (esp in the phrase do one’s business)
(slang) prostitution
(informal) like nobody’s business, extremely well or fast
mean business, to be in earnest
(informal) do the business, to achieve what is required: it tastes vile, but it does the business
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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