Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
(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.
*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.
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.