business as usual

Idioms & Phrases

business as usual

The normal course of some activity, as in The fire destroyed only a small section of the store, so it's business as usual. This term originated as an announcement that a commercial establishment was continuing to operate in spite of fire, construction, or some similar interruption. It had been extended to broader use by 1914, when Winston Churchill said in a speech: "The maxim of the British people is 'Business as usual,'" which became a slogan for the rest of World War I. Today it may be used in this positive sense and also pejoratively, as in Never mind that most civilians are starving to deaththe ministry regards its job to be business as usual. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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