busy

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Related to busier: emphasises

busy beaver

A very busy, assiduous, or hardworking person. Taken from the phrase "busy as a beaver," referring to beavers' reputation for being extremely industrious. Between working two part-time jobs, volunteering on the weekends, and looking after his little brother, Sam's been a busy beaver this summer.
See also: beaver, busy

busy work

Menial activities, tasks, or chores meant to occupy time, more so than to accomplish anything productive. I actually wanted to learn more about fossils, but the substitute teacher just gave us busy work to do.
See also: busy, work

busy little beaver

A very busy, assiduous, or hardworking person. Taken from the phrase "busy as a beaver," referring to beavers' reputation for being extremely industrious. Between working two part-time jobs, volunteering on the weekends, and looking after his brother, Sam's been a busy little beaver this summer.
See also: beaver, busy, little

be (as) busy as a bee

To be very busy. I'm currently choreographing three plays, so I'm as busy as a bee. Can we meet next week instead? I'm busy as a bee right now.
See also: bee, busy

keep (one) busy

1. To stay active and engaged in many pursuits. I haven't seen you in so long! Have you been keeping busy? A: "How have you been?" B: "Oh, you know, keeping busy. That's what happens when you have three kids!" I try to keep busy when I'm off during the summer, but many days I find myself just wallowing in the pool.
2. To ensure that one is occupied. In this usage, a person's name or pronoun appears between "keep" and "busy." Keep the kids busy while I wrap these presents. I've been trying to keep myself busy while I look for a job, but I won't lie, the days are long. I'm sure all this homework will keep you busy.
See also: busy, keep

the busiest men have the most leisure

People who finish their work quickly ultimately have more free time. A: "Tom has the highest GPA in our class, but whenever I see him, he's playing video games, not studying!" B: "I guess it's true what they say—the busiest men have the most leisure."
See also: busy, have, leisure, men, most

(as) busy as a beaver (building a new dam)

Very busy, assiduous, or hardworking. The phrase refers to beavers' reputation for being extremely industrious. Between working two part-time jobs, volunteering on the weekends, and looking after his little brother, Sam's been busy as a beaver this summer. I've been as busy as a beaver building a new dam this year. I've had almost no free time!
See also: beaver, busy, new

(as) busy as a hibernating bear

Not busy at all; inactive. He says he has no time to help our charity, but I know that he's off from school right now and busy as a hibernating bear!
See also: bear, busy, hibernate

busy with (something)

1. adjective Spending a lot of one's time focused or working on a particular task, goal, or project. I'm so busy with school right now that I haven't seen my friends in weeks.
2. verb To immerse oneself in a task or project. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun is used between "busy" and "with." Ever since my break-up with Ben, I've busied myself with work to keep from crying all day long.
3. verb To engage or occupy someone with a distraction, task, or project. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "busy" and "with." If you busy the baby with a toy, he'll stop crying in no time. My husband is off all week, so I'm busying him with repairs around the house.
See also: busy

busiest men have the most leisure

 and busiest men find the most time
Prov. Industrious people get their work done efficiently and therefore have time to do what they want. Fred: How does Phil do it? He produces more than the rest of us, but he also manages to pursue all his hobbies. Alan: The busiest men have the most leisure. As the town's only doctor, Bert worked extremely hard, yet he always had time to play with his children and go out with his wife. The busiest men find the most time.
See also: busy, have, leisure, men, most

*busy as a beaver (building a new dam)

 and *busy as a bee; *busy as a one-armed paperhanger; *busy as Grand Central Station; *busy as a cat on a hot tin roof; *busy as a fish peddler in Lent; *busy as a cranberry merchant (at Thanksgiving); *busy as popcorn on a skillet
very busy. (*Also: as ~.) My boss keeps me as busy as a one-armed paperhanger. I don't have time to talk to you. I'm as busy as a beaver. When the tourist season starts, this store is busy as Grand Central Station. Sorry I can't go to lunch with you. I'm as busy as a beaver building a new dam. Prying into other folks' business kept him busy as popcorn on a skillet.
See also: beaver, busy

*busy as a hibernating bear

not busy at all. (*Also: as ~.) Tom: I can't go with you. I'm busy. Jane: Yeah. You're as busy as a hibernating bear. He lounged on the sofa all day, busy as a hibernating bear.
See also: bear, busy, hibernate

busy oneself with someone or something

to occupy one's time by dealing with someone or something. Tony busied himself with helping Sam. Mrs. Wilson busied herself with little Jimmy.
See also: busy

busy someone with someone or something

to keep someone busy dealing with someone or something. You should busy the children with some activity. We will busy Randy with cleaning up the garage.
See also: busy

get busy

to start working; to work or appear to work harder or faster. The boss is coming. You'd better get busy. I've got to get busy and clean this house up.
See also: busy, get

(Have you) been keeping busy?

 and (Have you been) keeping busy?; You been keeping busy?
Inf. a vague greeting asking about how someone has been occupied. Tom: Been keeping busy? Bill: Yeah. Too busy. Sue: Hi, Fred. Have you been keeping busy? Fred: Not really. Just doing what I have to.
See also: been, keeping

I'm busy.

Do not bother me now.; I cannot attend to your needs now. Bob: Can I talk to you? Bill: I'm busy. Bob: It's important. Bill: Sorry, I'm busy! Fred: Can you help me with this? Bill: I'm busy. Can it wait a minute? Fred: Sure. No rush.
See also: busy

(I've) been keeping myself busy.

 and (I've been) keeping myself busy.
a standard response to a greeting inquiry asking what one has been doing. Bill: What have you been doing? Bob: I've been keeping myself busy. What about you? Bill: About the same. John: Yo! What have you been up to? Bill: Been keeping myself busy.
See also: been, busy, keeping, myself

keep the stork flying

 and keep the stork busy
Rur. to have lots of children. Sally's pregnant again, with their sixth. They sure do keep the stork flying! Grandma and grandpa kept the stork flying. I've got ten aunts and uncles.
See also: flying, keep, stork

be as busy as a bee

  (old-fashioned) also be a busy bee (old-fashioned)
to be very busy or very active She's as busy as a bee, always going to meetings and organizing parties.
See also: bee, busy

busy as a beaver

Also, busy as a bee. Hardworking, very industrious, as in With all her activities, Sue is always busy as a bee, or Bob's busy as a beaver trying to finish painting before it rains. The comparison to beavers dates from the late 1700s, the variant from the late 1300s. Also see eager beaver; work like a beaver.
See also: beaver, busy

busy work

Activity meant to take up time but not actually be productive. For example, We have to put in an eight-hour day, even if we do nothing but busy work. [c. 1840]
See also: busy, work

get busy

Start working, become active, as in Stop dawdling; get busy, or We'd better get busy on this paper. [c. 1900] Also see get a move on; get going; get on the stick.
See also: busy, get
References in periodicals archive ?
He said: "We expect roads to be busier than normal this Easter with around 17 million cars on the move over the break, as people put the gloom of the economy and a harsh winter behind them.
Four in ten men are being made busier by the technology they rely on, compared to a third of women, the report claims.
Hurricane season seems to be getting busier and busier.
Flights out of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh were expecting to be 10 per cent busier this weekend than normal.
Keith Hudson, manager of one of Cardiff's Waterstones bookshops, said, 'We are trading above last year but things have been getting busier and busier.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is busier now than it's been since its inception in the 1930s, with much of its increased activities due to stepped-up rulemaking and enforcement.
As Rosen became busier and busier with his venture capital business, he hired a young man now known to many in the newsletter industry, George Gilder.
On the busier lowland roads they were provided with a police escort, as they were when riding through the capital, Maseru.
Major hotels in the area were busier this year than last," says Ian Wood, co-ordinator of convention business services for the City of Greater Sudbury.
As homes get busier and busier and parents have less time to cook, there's more take out, which is higher in fat and less nutritional than meals cooked at home," says Dr.
On the contrary, lobbyists are busier than ever, cozying up to members of Congress to ensure that lawmakers will steer billions of bail-out dollars their clients' way or pass legislation that will help increase profits in a downward economy.
Although he's best known as the axman for enduring queercore innovators Pansy Division, Goodwin's finding that his latest side venture, fronting the metallic Dirty Power, is keeping him far busier.
Commodity organizations are adding communications people that haven't had them before, and agencies are busier than ever.
Tim Darby, United Racecourses' marketing manager, said yesterday: "It was certainly a busier day than one of our busier Saturdays, and the crowd was in excess of 10,000.
If critical mass has finally been achieved, then Cineworks, Vancouver's filmmaking co-op (currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and busier than ever), deserves recognition for its efforts to serve as a central collective for local filmmakers.