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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

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 periodicals archive ?
Cognitive busyness: The effectiveness of the cognitive busyness manipulation was assessed by this question: "How distracting was it to have to memorize the eight-digit number?
Al-Aani's decision not to go for the coming elections because his official and partial busyness, mainly in the current stage," said the statement received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Coverage includes an overview of the concept of busyness and what drives it in the lives of so many people; how people cope with busyness and how that coping comes to constitute a hidden or tacit work that further complicates people's lives; how people create buffers of technology and other people that enable them to better cope; what the study revealed about changing notions concerning workers, jobs, homes, and families; and what the findings may suggest for American society of the future.
We all need some time away from the busyness of modern life to, well, shut up and listen to the voice of God, who is always trying to get through.
Instead, the Tokyo-based practice, led by European expats Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, prides itself on its ability to adjust people's focus back onto the inherent value of cultural artefacts and activities that are too often overlooked in the busyness of day to day life.
It is beyond the task-oriented busyness of the technical world and routine jobs.
In the midst of my busyness, my mother called from the hospital in Portland and said things were not good and I should plan to come that day if I could.
Karlene Kerfoot, a veteran nurse executive well known to AACN for her creative vision, writes about the busyness of our workplaces and how it hinders the creative thinking nurses and managers need to have to address vital problems they know must be solved.
In the busyness of life, one may have good intentions of giving a donation to help fund scholarships for student nurses or grants and awards to stimulate nursing and health care research, but the truth is that if we don't sit down to do it right away, it will probably not be done.
I had wanted to write this earlier, but the busyness of the season delayed me.
80) Unfortunately (or in Bruegmann's view, inevitably), the successes and limitations of the industrial cities led to suburbanization and the decline of urban busyness.
The busyness of the area probably brings good business to Capers, but it also damages one of the restaurant's signature features: the al fresco dining.
The problem of busyness can be compounded by senior leaders who are
But when the movie returns to Gotham, Nolan and Goyer feel compelled to deliver the sorts of things people expect from summer movies - stunts, explosions and inconsequential busyness.