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business - definition and synonyms


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noun business pronunciation in British English /ˈbɪznəs/
Word Forms
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  1. 1
    [uncountable] the work of buying or selling products or services for money
    representatives from business and politics
    do business with someone: I found them very easy to do business with.
    go into business: It was a mistake to go into business with my brother.
    1. a.
      [only before noun] connected with business, or with people who work in business
      our latest business venture
      the business community (=all the people who work in business)
      a business associate/partner
      the business section of the Sunday paper
    2. b.
      used for talking about how well a company or industry is doing
      We’re hoping that business will improve this year.
      Cheap imports are damaging our business.
      Business was booming (=doing very well).
      A little controversy will be good for business.
    3. c.
      used for talking about how many customers or contracts a company or industry has
      They’re trying to attract business by cutting prices.
      a potential source of new business
      Companies risk losing business if they don’t accept the Euro.
    4. d.
      a particular area of business
      What business are you in?
      the music/fashion/advertising etc business: I have a few contacts in the music business.
    5. e.
      used for talking about business compared to things that you do when you are not working
      Are you here for business or pleasure?
      a business lunch/trip/meeting
      on business: Jonathan was away on business.
    See also big business
  2. 2
    [countable] an organization that buys or sells products or services for money. This word often refers to a small organization that is owned and run by one person or a few people, while company can also refer to large organizations
    a small family business
    Matthew’s little shop has turned into a thriving business.
    Many small businesses fold (=fail) in their first year.
    run a business: Sheryl’s parents run a small clothing business.
    start your own business: After leaving school, Bob started his own computer business.
  3. 3
    [singular/uncountable] something that you have to deal with
    Is there any other business to discuss?
    unfinished business (=things that need to be dealt with): We’ve still got some unfinished business to settle.
    the business of (doing) something: Nancy had left the business of looking after the dog to her brother.
  4. 4
    [uncountable] something that affects or involves a particular person and no one else
    It’s my business who I go out with.
  5. 5
    [singular] something that has happened, especially something that has caused problems and has been continuing for a long time
    This business about housework has to be resolved.
    I’m fed up with the whole business.
    Ever since that business with her boyfriend, Becky’s been really depressed.



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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