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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

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

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: 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: 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 the busiest day locally had been Christmas Eve, although the most calls to the national helpline were received on Boxing Day, when calls were up 29 per cent to 5,396.
8 million packages nationwide on its busiest day, Monday.
The Atlanta airport had the second-highest number of flights from 1 January through to 30 June, while Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was the country's third busiest airport, the US Federal Aviation Administration reported.
The Port Authority also expected the World Trade Center Station to become the PATH system's busiest weekday station by 2006.
com, is the world's busiest image market, with an image sold every three seconds.
Of the 17 existing stations, Swansea, which is earmarked for closure in March 2015, was the sixth busiest in the country last year, dealing with a total of 1,405 incidents.
Prime retail space consisting of 2,400 SF, located on one of midtown Manhattan's busiest intersections at Fifth Avenue and 47th Street, is on the market for lease through Insignia/SEG.
Military rescue services in Scotland have had their busiest 12 months for six years.
This season, the site also experienced the busiest day in company history on Monday, December 11, with 46 percent growth in traffic to merchants year-over-year.
It questioned 100 top divorce lawyers who all agreed the week beginning Monday, January 8, was one of their busiest of the year.
While the day after Thanksgiving is reputed to be the traditional start of the holiday season -- dubbed Black Friday because it's key to yearly profits -- the busiest shopping day of the year has become the Saturday before Christmas.
Wrexham shoppers made their Barclays cash machine the busiest in Wales in the week before Christmas.
A WREXHAM cash machine was the busiest in Wales for one bank in the run-up to Christmas with shoppers taking out more than pounds 290, 000 in one week.
A new study from Eurostat, the European Commission's statistical office, has ranked the air route between Britain and Spain as the busiest in Europe.
And while JFK is only the 14th busiest passenger airport in the nation, it is the third busiest cargo airport.