Did the word business originally mean “the condition of being busy” as the word busyness currently means?
Why did it change? It was surely a very useful word, since the awkwardly-spelt word busyness has had to be created to take its place.
I think I’m right in saying the i-ness construction is favoured above the y-ness construction in all other similar words – e.g. happiness, friendliness, haziness, merriness.
What really confuses is me is this: Busyness means now what business meant then. Why change an existing word, then create a similar one which means what the old one did? Why not just create a new word? I suspect there’s a story there, and I wonder what it is.