Legal Dictionary


Definition of business


    busy +‎ -ness


  • IPA: /ˈbɪzˌnəs/ or /ˈbɪzˌnɪs/, SAMPA: /"bIzn@s/ or /"bIznIs/
  • Audio (US) [?]
  • Hyphenation: busi‧ness


business (countable and uncountable; plural businesses)

  1. (countable) A specific commercial enterprise or establishment.

    I was left my father's business.

  2. (countable) A person's occupation, work, or trade.

    He is in the motor business.
    I'm going to Las Vegas on business.

  3. (uncountable) Commercial, industrial, or professional activity.

    He's such a poor cook, I can't believe he's still in business!
    We do business all over the world.

  4. (uncountable) The volume or amount of commercial trade.

    Business has been slow lately.

  5. (uncountable) One's dealings; patronage.

    I shall take my business elsewhere.

  6. (uncountable) Private commercial interests taken collectively.

    This proposal will satisfy both business and labor.

  7. (uncountable) The management of commercial enterprises, or the study of such management.

    I studied business at Harvard.

  8. (countable) A particular situation or activity.

    This UFO stuff is a mighty strange business.

  9. (countable) An objective or a matter needing to be dealt with.

    Our principal business here is to get drunk.
    Let's get down to business.

  10. (uncountable) Something involving one personally.

    That's none of your business.

  11. (uncountable, parliamentary procedure) Matters that come before a body for deliberation or action.

    If that concludes the announcements, we'll move on to new business.

  12. (travel, uncountable) Business class, the class of seating provided by airlines between first class and coach.

    * 1992, James Wallace and Jim Erickson, Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire[1], page 154:
    Gates, who always flew business or coach, didn't particularly like the high air fares Nishi was charging to Microsoft, []

  13. (acting) Action carried out with a prop or piece of clothing, usually away from the focus of the scene.

    * 1983, Peter Thomson, Shakespeare's Theatre[2], ISBN 0710203829, page 155:
    The business with the hat is a fine example of the difficulty of distinguishing between 'natural' and 'formal' acting.

  14. (countable, rare) The collective noun for a group of ferrets.

    * 2004, Dave Duncan, The Jaguar Knights: A Chronicle of the King's Blades[3], ISBN 0060555114, page 252:
    I'm sure his goons will go through the ship like a business of ferrets, and they'll want to look in our baggage.

  15. (uncountable, slang, British) Something very good; top quality. (possibly from "the bee's knees")

    These new phones are the business!

  16. (slang, uncountable) Excrement, particularly that of a non-human animal.

    Your ferret left his business all over the floor.

Further reading

A business (also called a company, enterprise or firm) is a legally recognized organization designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers.[1] Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, most being privately owned and formed to earn profit that will increase the wealth of its owners and grow the business itself. The owners and operators of a business have as one of their main objectives the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for work and acceptance of risk. Notable exceptions include cooperative enterprises and state-owned enterprises. Businesses can also be formed not-for-profit or be state-owned.

The etymology of "business" relates to the state of being busy either as an individual or society as a whole, doing commercially viable and profitable work. The term "business" has at least three usages, depending on the scope - the singular usage (above) to mean a particular company or corporation, the generalized usage to refer to a particular market sector, such as "the music business" and compound forms such as agribusiness, or the broadest meaning to include all activity by the community of suppliers of goods and services. However, the exact definition of business, like much else in the philosophy of business, is a matter of debate.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     warrant
2.     tampering
3.     emtio
4.     amnesty law
5.     magistrates court
6.     lex fori
7.     landed property
8.     lex situs
9.     lex causae
10.     ownership