busy

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Related to busily: illicitly, capriciously

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

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: 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 classic literature ?
Busily toiled the coral-workers, but more busily toiled he; insect and Spirit daily wondered more and more, at the industry and patience of the silent little Elf, who had a friendly word for all, though he never joined them in their sport.
A glance over my shoulder showed me the sithic engaged in pawing at the spear stuck through his lower jaw, and so busily engaged did he remain in this occupation that I had gained the safety of the cliff top before he was ready to take up the pursuit.
As for the yellow hen, she continued to peck away at the sand busily, and seemed quite contented with her bill-of-fare.
She was so busily employed in arranging the pillows that Nicholas could not see her face, but as she stooped he thought he saw a tear fall.
The cat," answered Pinocchio, seeing that little animal busily playing with some shavings in the corner of the room.
This alteration was not, however, greatly remarked by any present; for as they were all now endeavouring to conceal their own thoughts, and to act a part, they became all too busily engaged in the scene to be spectators of it.
One day, while my husband was busily at work, I sat beside him reading an old cookery book called The Compleat Housewife: or Accomplish'd Gentlewoman's Companion.
I was busily employed, and doing what, do you suppose?
Building on, building on, busily, busily, from morning to night.
She was busily engaged in the little offices of the table.
They were two men who were seated in easy attitudes upon the grass, and so busily engaged as to be at first unconscious of intruders.
Nelly, kneeling down beside the box, was soon busily engaged in her task, and accomplishing it to a miracle.
On a cold, crisp and even December morning, the 20 hard-working elves from Cardiff Rivers Group (CRG) busily tidied and managed the habitat along the Dock feeder behind the castle.
Meanwhile, across on Bruce's Acre, Alex was busily putting together a 20lb 2oz net to finish almost 4lbs ahead of Drew McCluskey, with Kevin Aitken chasing them home less than 3lbs behind.
The would-be Eurovision stars won't be the only ones feeling the pressure, as Lloyd Webber will also be busily trying to finish his song.