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[buhsk] /bʌsk/
verb (used without object)
Chiefly British. to entertain by dancing, singing, or reciting on the street or in a public place.
Canadian. to make a showy or noisy appeal.
1850-55; perhaps, if earlier sense was “to make a living by entertaining,” < Polari < Italian buscare to procure, get, gain < Spanish buscar to look for, seek (of disputed orig.)
Related forms
busker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for busker
  • She's in full-on busker mode for this one, starting out playing harmonica and acoustic guitar.
British Dictionary definitions for busker


a strip of whalebone, wood, steel, etc, inserted into the front of a corset to stiffen it
(archaic or dialect) the corset itself
Word Origin
C16: from Old French busc, probably from Old Italian busco splinter, stick, of Germanic origin


(intransitive) (Brit) to make money by singing, dancing, acting, etc, in public places, as in front of theatre queues
Derived Forms
busker, noun
busking, noun
Word Origin
C20: perhaps from Spanish buscar to look for


verb (transitive) (Scot)
to make ready; prepare
to dress or adorn
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse būask, from būa to make ready, dwell; see bower1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for busker
"itinerant entertainer," 1857, from busk (v.) "to offer goods for sale only in bars and taprooms," 1851 (in Mayhew), perhaps from busk "to cruise as a pirate," which was used in a figurative sense by 1841, in reference to people living shifless and peripatetic lives. The nautical term is attested from 1660s (in a general sense of "to tack, to beat to windward"), apparently from obs. Fr. busquer "to shift, filch, prowl," which is related to It. buscare "to filch, prowl," Sp. buscar (from O.Sp. boscar), perhaps originally from bosco "wood" (see bush), with a hunting notion of "beating a wood" to flush game. Busker has been mistakenly derived from buskin in the stage sense
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for busker



To perform music in subway stations or other public places, taking the contributions of listeners •Very common in Great Britain, but spreading to the US (1840s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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