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The term busybody is a word that dates back to the 1500s. It is a closed compound word, which is a word that is made up of two words joined together without hyphens or spaces, coined to explain a new phenomenon, idea or invention. We will examine the definition of busybody, where the expression came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A busybody is a person who inserts himself into a situation where he is not welcome. A busybody may be considered a meddler. The plural form is busybodies. While the term busybody was first used in the 1500s, it enjoyed a surge in popularity at the beginning of the 1700s, due to the play The Busie Body written by Susanna Centlivre. Centlivre was a rare female poet and playwright, active during the 1700s at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The word busybody is derived from busy, employing an obsolete definition meaning meddlesome or prying, and body, meaning a human being.


It’s more likely in spite of the busybody hands of a government that Canada keeps on innovating and building and selling. (The Toronto Sun)

A busybody if there ever was one, Battistella frets over the infield grass at Lakeshore, wanting to know if any weeds are pushing their way through the lawn he manicures with a stylist’s precision. (The New Orleans Advocate)

Although Holiday House suffices as a one-act, some viewers might wish the piquant situation were expanded into a full-length comedy: Two women — one married to Derek, the other his former fiancée newly married to Derek’s brother — uneasily share a month-long summer rental with their spouses, alongside the brothers’ urbane mother and busybody sister. (The Village Voice)