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(as) busy as a one-armed paperhanger (with an itch)

Constantly busy, active, or occupied (with something). I'm currently choreographing three plays, so I'm busy as one-armed paperhanger. Can we meet next week instead? I'm just as busy as a one-armed paperhanger with an itch right now. Between working two part-time jobs, volunteering on the weekends, and looking after his little brother, Sam's been busy as a one-armed paperhanger this summer.
See also: an, busy, paperhanger
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"The Paperhanger" was first published in Harper's magazine in 2000, the same year Gay also published his second novel, Provinces of Night, and approximately a year after the publication of his first novel, The Long Home.
One minute Zeineb was playing games and ignoring a quarrel between her mother and the paperhanger about the quality of his work.
Tap the paper all round the rose with a paperhanger's brush and cut off the flaps with a knife.
The paperhanger was stowing away his T square and trowels in his wooden toolbox.
Secretary of HHS illustrates the problem.(12) The claimant was a 50-year-old painter and paperhanger. After injuring his back on the job, he received temporary total disability payments of $269 a week.
The Sixties is packed with memorable snapshots of friends: of Auden, fumbling with his galley pages during a Cambridge poetry reading, "a little like one of those comic paperhanger acts"; of the Wellesley English professors Wilson mistakes "for entomologists who resembled the insects they studie." Budapest is a "spiky and bristling city," with an "element of the goblinesque, the porcupine dome of the parliament house, the ubiquitous unendearing Cupids.
Working-class graffiti were added by Louise DeSalvo's rabble-rousing opening speech to the 1992 conference about the class bias in Woolf's portrait of the one-armed paperhanger in To the Lighthouse; but the various Virginia slyly evaded the class issue and emerged queerly (and triumphantly) from that conference as a lesbian.
Vin was a self-employed paperhanger and painter who graduated from South High School.
"William Gay worked for thirty years as a carpenter, housepainter, and paperhanger before publishing The Long Home" Franklin writes.
Chris Cassidy, 19, is one of three finalists selected by the Painting and Decorating Association to compete in the annual Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year competition.
If you're a novice paperhanger or fall in love with a super-expensive paper, consider hiring a pro.
I am a paperhanger and have over 40 years in the business; I put many magazines on the walls in powder rooms, bathrooms, libraries, etc.
Jonathan Kendall Slentz of The Wallpaper Store answers: "I've heard those stories, too, from customers who thought any paperhanger who advertised must be a professional.
A paperhanger came, and Alfred, who was napping temporarily in the dining room, leaped to his feet like a man with a bad dream.
Levesque was a skilled painter and paperhanger; he worked as a shop foreman of the paint department at Clark University for many years.