The Difference between Business and Busyness

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Currently, almost the entire human population is either busy or has some type of business. The same population also expects you to stay busy in your business and not interfere in their business. Confusing? I think so too! This is exactly why I have come up with this simple guide for differentiating, and correctly using these two somewhat related words.

If happy is happiness, silly is silliness, and sad is sadness, shouldn’t busy also be busyness? To some extent, busyness is the right word to use. However, this was not the case initially. But especially now, when the experts are constantly adding words to the English language, busyness may just be the most accurate word in some situations.

If you have been perpetually mixing these two words with one another, don’t fret. You are not alone; there are at least a thousand people just like you who make this mistake every time these words come up. However, to make a good impression and stand out among this group of thousands, it is imperative you learn how to use the words business and busyness properly.

What is the Difference between Business and Busyness?

The word ‘business’ is a noun that refers to a commercial activity, or anything one can get involved in. On the other hand, ‘busyness’ is also a noun but is used to describe the quality of being busy, or having a lot to do.


Let’s start with the basics. Learn how to pronounce business and busyness:

Business: BIZ – ness

Busyness BIZ – ee – ness

Definition and Usage


  1. Business is a noun, meaning commerce, related to a profession, occupation, trade. It refers to the activity of buying and selling products and services. Its synonyms include work and career.

Usage: If someone has had several customers come into their ice-cream store, the owner can say: “Business has been good today” or “I need to write a stellar Instagram caption for my business.”

  1. Another meaning, a noun again, of business is running a company or a commercial small, medium, or large-scale activity or establishment. An individual or group can run a business or start their own business. Its synonyms are trading and dealing.

Usage: If someone owns a construction business or store, they may say: “I manage a construction business.”


  1. Busyness is a noun, meaning the state or condition of having a lot to do. This could be work, chores, responsibilities, tasks, scheduled activities, and so on. Its synonyms include work and job (when you have an abundant workload).

Usage: I took a short vacation to take a break from the busyness of everyday life.

  1. The other meaning of Busyness, noun again, is the quality of being excessively detailed or decorated. While it does not have a precise synonym, you can use ‘punctilious’ and ‘perfectionist’ to better understand it.

Usage: The busyness of the interior designer was excellent.

The first meaning of busyness, referring to work, is often mistaken with business. Although it is not as common as the latter, busyness is still used quite commonly.

Combining Business and Busyness

Now that we understand the meanings of business and busyness, let’s try using both together so there is no doubt left. Here is a simple example:

Think of a company that deals in holiday decorations, such as Christmas lights. Now, as most already know, Christmas lights are mostly sold in November and December, the months most closely associated with the great celebratory day.

Thus, in early November, a company may begin preparing for the holiday season. The owner or salesman may say:

“Our business (company) is preparing for the coming season of busyness (having a lot to do).”

Congratulations! You have now aced at using both business and busyness correctly.

Onaizah Abdul Wahid
Onaizah Abdul Wahid