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Related to business: business line, Business Day
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1. informal Severe repudiation, scorn, or scolding. I know I'm going to get the business when my boss finds out I lost our most lucrative account. Johnny's parents gave him the business after he ran their car into a ditch.
2. informal That which needs to be done or accomplished in a particular situation. You can always count on Rebecca to do the business if a situation has gone awry. OK, that's enough goofing around. Let's get down to business!
3. euphemism Urination or defecation. There aren't any toilets where we'll be camping, so you'll have to do your business out in the woods. Make sure the dog does its business outside.
4. vulgar slang Sexual activity. If you're not giving your lady the business each night, then she'll start looking for it somewhere else. C'mon, baby, let's go back to my room and do the business!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


1. harassment; a scolding; general bad treatment. (*Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) The guys have been giving me the business about my new hairstyle. Sam was giving Tom the business about being late all the time.
2. Sl an execution. (Underworld. *Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) The mob wanted to give him the business for confessing to the federal prosecutor.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

the business

1. Verbal abuse, scolding, or teasing; also, a beating. For example, At boarding school new kids always get the business, or The boxer faked and then gave his opponent the business. [Slang; c. 1940]
2. A harsh interrogation, as in The detectives gave each suspect the business. [Slang; c. 1940]
3. Dismissal from work or jilting, as in Once the new management takes over I'm sure to get the business, or Dorothy gave him the business and married someone else. [Slang; c. 1940]
See also: business
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
I was making money at this business when, in an evil moment, I was induced to merge it in the Cur-Spattering -- a somewhat analogous, but, by no means, so respectable a profession.
It is a plain, straightforward business, and requires no particular abilities.
I have found that a most pleasant and lucrative business, and, really, no trouble at all.
A disheartening series of rebuffs slowly forced the truth in upon Sanders's mind that the business world refused to accept the telephone as an article of commerce.
Until this good genie should arrive, they could do no more than flounder ahead, and take whatever business was the nearest and the cheapest.
Even this tiny nibbling at its business must be stopped.
That's good!" (Though his manner was less satisfied than his words.) "A matter of business. Regard it as a matter of business-business that must be done.
"A-a matter of business. You confuse me, and how can I transact business if I am confused?
Business! You have business before you; useful business.
This is a business matter with me, and if the two thousand pounds don't sound attractive enough, well, the amount must be revised, that's all.
To the lower regions with business! Help yourself to the oysters and pass the wine."
Of course, there were exceptions to this; and, such was the rigor of his discipline, that if he had a dinner or a conference before him in which, in a business way, he encountered enemies or allies and planned or prosecuted campaigns, he abstained from drinking.
You told me you didn't know whether it was public business or not.'
'I have now ascertained that it is public business,' returned the suitor, 'and I want to know'--and again repeated his monotonous inquiry.
You'll find out when the business passes through each of these stages by asking at both Departments till they tell you.'