keep busy

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keep (oneself) busy

To remain occupied (with something); to ensure that one is not idle or bored. I found that I had to keep myself busy while I was grieving. I just couldn't bear to sit still, or else I would start thinking about everything that happened. I bought a bunch of coloring books and board games so the kids can keep themselves busy during the break from school.
See also: busy, keep

keep 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
References in classic literature ?
The men were working so hard in the wheatfields that they did not notice the heat--though I was kept busy carrying water for them--and grandmother and Antonia had so much to do in the kitchen that they could not have told whether one day was hotter than another.
The Doctor sat in a chair in front taking the sixpences and smiling on the people as they went in; and Dab-Dab was kept busy all the time scolding him because he would let the children in for nothing when she wasn't looking.
It will be ready in three days," promised the King, and hurried away to inspect the work and see that the Nomes kept busy.
Echo Lodge was the scene of gaieties once more, and the echoes over the river were kept busy mimicking the laughter that rang in the old garden behind the spruces.
He sank daily, and my mother and I had all the inn upon our hands, and were kept busy enough without paying much regard to our unpleasant guest.
He clapped his hands, and for the next quarter of an hour the house-boys were kept busy carrying messages to the barracks.
He was kept busy disposing of his heap of manuscripts.
None the less, his success continued, and the less skilful hunters were often kept busy hauling in his meat.
The "grape-vine telegraph" was kept busy night and day.
She was kept busy as a rule, for Roville possesses two casinos, each offering the attraction of
In the Roundup: State lawmakers kept busy this week advancing a slew of items in both chambers - including a measure on the trade of shark fins.
unteered e war started so I volunteered for the land army and was kept busy for the e war started so I volunteered for the land army and was kept busy for the next three years doing general farm work.
The Reading defender was kept busy by the World Cup-bound Azzurri at Craven Cottage but dealt admirably with their threat.
The band was kept busy signing copies of their new single Party Girl for a queue that stretched through the length of the store and out onto the street.
The medics are then kept busy by a man who severed a finger during a chainsaw pumpkincarving competition.