Business Before Pleasure Meaning
Definition: Work is more important than entertainment; finish work before having fun.
Origin of Business Before Pleasure
This proverb first appeared in the year 1767 in Thomas Hutchinson’s Diary and Letters. It took a slightly different form: pleasure should always give way to business.
Examples of Business Before Pleasure
The first dialogue shows a sister and her brother discussing their schedule for the day.
Luke: Hey! Mom and Dad are gone for the whole weekend. We should throw a party at their house!
Ella: A party would be fun, but they left this whole list of stuff we are supposed to do while they are gone.
Luke: I know. But there’s no reason we can’t do both. Let’s finish this list today, and throw the party on Saturday night!
Ella: Hm. I like your idea of business before pleasure. It will be hard to finish all this in just one day.
Luke: It will be busy but not impossible. We can do it if we both work hard.
Ella: Okay. Let’s try it!
The second example shows two friends arguing over the phone about what time to get together.
Ray: Hey. Come over here quick. The game is starting.
Jackie: I know. I wish I could come watch it with you. You know that’s my favorite team. But, unfortunately, I promised my boss I would finish this report first.
Ray: So what? Do the report later. How is he going to know?
Jackie: He might not know, but I believe in business before pleasure.
Ray: Fine. Come over when you’re done.
A former U.S. poet laureate writes that business is important to him in the below excerpt. However, he thinks business and pleasure can go together.
- An odd corollary is a promise I make myself (a promise to the places themselves, too) not to write a certain kind of touristic-literary poem about locales: No Verona poem, no Hawaiian snorkeling poem. Business before pleasure? Possibly so, but mainly: I like mixing them—while not mistaking one for the other. –Wall Street Journal
In this other example, an athlete focuses on his work before joining his girlfriend to relax.
- …she sipped champagne and iced her knee. Woods was in no great hurry to join her after his round. Business before pleasure. He needed to re-gauge his putting stroke. Tiger was asked whether 70 on the first round was a lucky number for him, given his history. –New York Daily News
The phrase business before pleasure means that obligations take precedence over enjoyment.