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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.
Origin of busk
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for busking
  • Could probably lift his whole village out of poverty quicker than through the use of his busking shrapnel.
  • busking is the practice of performing in public places for tips and gratuities.
  • No article on busking would be complete without mention of the one man band.
British Dictionary definitions for busking


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for busking

1851, slang, described variously as selling articles or obscene ballads in public houses, playing music on the streets, or performing as a sort of informal stand-up comedy act in pubs, perhaps from an earlier word meaning "to cruise as a pirate" (see busker).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for busking



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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