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noun \ˈwərk\

Simple Definition of work

  • : a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn money

  • : the place where you do your job

  • : the things that you do especially as part of your job

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of work

  1. 1 :  activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: a :  sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result b :  the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood c :  a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity

  2. 2 a :  energy expended by natural phenomena b :  the result of such energy <sand dunes are the work of sea and wind> c :  the transference of energy that is produced by the motion of the point of application of a force and is measured by multiplying the force and the displacement of its point of application in the line of action

  3. 3 a :  something that results from a particular manner or method of working, operating, or devising <careful police work> <clever camera work> b :  something that results from the use or fashioning of a particular material <porcelain work>

  4. 4 a :  a fortified structure (as a fort, earthen barricade, or trench) b plural :  structures in engineering (as docks, bridges, or embankments) or mining (as shafts or tunnels)

  5. 5 plural but sing or plural in constr :  a place where industrial labor is carried on :  plant, factory

  6. 6 plural :  the working or moving parts of a mechanism <the works of a clock>

  7. 7 a :  something produced or accomplished by effort, exertion, or exercise of skill <this book is the work of many hands> b :  something produced by the exercise of creative talent or expenditure of creative effort :  artistic production <an early work by a major writer>

  8. 8 plural :  performance of moral or religious acts <salvation by works>

  9. 9 a :  effective operation :  effect, result <wait for time to do its healing work> b :  manner of working :  workmanship, execution

  10. 10 :  the material or piece of material that is operated upon at any stage in the process of manufacture

  11. 11 plural a :  everything possessed, available, or belonging <the whole works, rod, reel, tackle box, went overboard> <ordered pizza with the works> b :  subjection to drastic treatment :  all possible abuse —usually used with get <get the works> or give <gave them the works>

at work
  1. 1 :  engaged in working :  busy; especially :  engaged in one's regular occupation

  2. 2 :  having effect :  operating, functioning

in the works
  1. :  in process of preparation, development, or completion

in work
  1. 1 :  in process of being done

  2. 2 of a horse :  in training

out of work
  1. :  without regular employment :  jobless

Examples of work in a sentence

  1. She is trying to find work in publishing.

  2. How long have you been looking for work?

  3. He started work as a car salesman.

  4. I know him through work.

  5. She didn't come to work today.

  6. He left work a few minutes ago.

  7. She's not here right now. She's at work.

  8. She went out with her friends from work.

  9. Can you describe your work to the class?

  10. A large part of the work is responding to e-mails.

Origin of work

Middle English werk, work, from Old English werc, weorc; akin to Old High German werc work, Greek ergon, Avestan varəzem activity

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of work

work, labor, travail, toil, drudgery, grind mean activity involving effort or exertion. work may imply activity of body, of mind, of a machine, or of a natural force <too tired to do any work>. labor applies to physical or intellectual work involving great and often strenuous exertion <farmers demanding fair compensation for their labor>. travail is bookish for labor involving pain or suffering <years of travail were lost when the house burned>. toil implies prolonged and fatiguing labor <his lot would be years of back-breaking toil>. drudgery suggests dull and irksome labor <an editorial job with a good deal of drudgery>. grind implies labor exhausting to mind or body <the grind of the assembly line>.work, employment, occupation, calling, pursuit, métier, business mean a specific sustained activity engaged in especially in earning one's living. work may apply to any purposeful activity whether remunerative or not <her work as a hospital volunteer>. employment implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer <your employment with this firm is hereby terminated>. occupation implies work in which one engages regularly especially as a result of training <his occupation as a trained auto mechanic>. calling applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession <the ministry seemed my true calling>. pursuit suggests a trade, profession, or avocation followed with zeal or steady interest <her family considered medicine the only proper pursuit>. métier implies a calling or pursuit for which one believes oneself to be especially fitted <acting was my one and only métier>. business suggests activity in commerce or the management of money and affairs <the business of managing a hotel>.




Simple Definition of work

  • : suitable to be worn while you are working

  • : used for work

  • : of or relating to a person's job

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of work

  1. 1 :  used for work <a work elephant>

  2. 2 :  suitable or styled for wear while working <work clothes>

  3. 3 :  involving or engaged in work <a work gang> <work hours>

Examples of work in a sentence

  1. What does your work schedule look like this week?

14th Century

First Known Use of work

14th century




Simple Definition of work

  • : to have a job

  • : to do things as part of your job

  • : to do work in, on, or at (an area, event, etc.)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of work

worked play \ˈwərkt\ or wrought play \ˈrȯt\ working

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to bring to pass :  effect <work miracles>

  3. 2 a :  to fashion or create a useful or desired product by expending labor or exertion on :  forge, shape <work flint into tools> b :  to make or decorate with needlework; especially :  embroider

  4. 3 a :  to prepare for use by stirring or kneading b :  to bring into a desired form by a gradual process of cutting, hammering, scraping, pressing, or stretching <work cold steel>

  5. 4 :  to set or keep in motion, operation, or activity :  cause to operate or produce <a pump worked by hand> <work farmland>

  6. 5 :  to solve (a problem) by reasoning or calculation —often used with out

  7. 6 a :  to cause to toil or labor <worked their horses nearly to death> b :  to make use of :  exploit c :  to control or guide the operation of <switches are worked from a central tower>

  8. 7 a :  to carry on an operation or perform a job through, at, in, or along <the peddler worked the corner> <a sportscaster hired to work the game> b :  to greet and talk with in a friendly way in order to ingratiate oneself or achieve a purpose <politicians working the crowd> <worked the room>

  9. 8 :  to pay for or achieve with labor or service <worked my way through college> <worked my way up in the company>

  10. 9 a :  to get (oneself or an object) into or out of a condition or position by gradual stages b :  contrive, arrange <we can work it so that you can take your vacation>

  11. 10 a :  to practice trickery or cajolery on for some end <worked the management for a free ticket> b :  excite, provoke <worked myself into a rage>

  12. intransitive verb
  13. 1 a :  to exert oneself physically or mentally especially in sustained effort for a purpose or under compulsion or necessity b :  to perform or carry through a task requiring sustained effort or continuous repeated operations <worked all day over a hot stove> c :  to perform work or fulfill duties regularly for wages or salary <works in publishing>

  14. 2 :  to function or operate according to plan or design <hinges work better with oil>

  15. 3 :  to exert an influence or tendency

  16. 4 :  to produce a desired effect or result :  succeed <a plan that will work>

  17. 5 a :  to make way slowly and with difficulty :  move or progress laboriously <worked up to the presidency> b :  to sail to windward

  18. 6 :  to permit of being worked :  react in a specified way to being worked <this wood works easily>

  19. 7 a :  to be in agitation or restless motion b :  ferment 1 c :  to move slightly in relation to another part d :  to get into a specified condition by slow or imperceptible movements <the knot worked loose>

work on
  1. 1 :  affect <worked on my sympathies>

  2. 2 :  to strive to influence or persuade

work upon
  1. :  to have effect upon :  operate on

Examples of work in a sentence

  1. I started working when I was sixteen.

  2. She works part-time at the restaurant.

  3. She has always wanted to work in advertising.

  4. She has to work two jobs to support her family.

  5. She worked through lunch to get the report done.

  6. I'm not working tomorrow—the boss gave me the day off.

  7. He works about 60 hours a week.

  8. The job requires that you work some nights and weekends.

  9. She is used to working long hours.

  10. She works the Northeast region of the state selling insurance.

Origin of work

Middle English werken, worken, from Old English wyrcan; akin to Old English weorc

First Known Use: before 12th century

WORK Defined for Kids



noun \ˈwərk\

Definition of work for Students

  1. 1 :  the use of a person's physical or mental strength or ability in order to get something done or get some desired result <Cleaning the playground was a lot of work.>

  2. 2 :  occupation 1, employment

  3. 3 :  the place where someone works <I left my coat at work.>

  4. 4 :  something that needs to be done or dealt with :  task, job <I have work to do.>

  5. 5 :  1deed 1, achievement <The principal will honor the club for its good works.>

  6. 6 :  something produced by effort or hard work <an author's latest work> <a researcher's work>

  7. 7 works plural :  a place where industrial labor is done :  plant, factory <a locomotive works>

  8. 8 works plural :  the working or moving parts of a mechanical device <the works of a watch>

  9. 9 :  the way someone performs labor :  workmanship <The job was spoiled by careless work.>

  10. 10 works plural :  everything possessed, available, or belonging <She ordered a hamburger with the works.>




Definition of work for Students

worked or wrought \ˈrȯt\working

  1. 1 :  to do something that involves physical or mental effort especially for money or because of a need instead of for pleasure :  labor or cause to labor

  2. 2 :  to have a job <I haven't worked in three years.>

  3. 3 :  to perform or act or to cause to act as planned :  operate <The plan worked well.> <How do you work this thing?>

  4. 4 :  to force to do something that involves physical or mental effort <The coach really works the team.>

  5. 5 :  to move or cause to move slowly or with effort <Work the liquid into a cloth.> <The screw worked loose.>

  6. 6 :  to cause to happen <I can't work miracles.>

  7. 7 :  1make 1, shape <The vase is beautifully wrought.>

  8. 8 :  to make an effort especially for a long period <She worked hard to make the dinner a success.>

  9. 9 :  excite 1, provoke <You're going to work yourself into a rage.>

  10. 10 :  to carry on an occupation in, through, or along <Two agents worked the city.>

work out
  1. 1 :  to invent or solve by effort <He had it all worked out so it wouldn't look fishy. — Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Egypt Game>

  2. 2 :  to go through an exercise routine

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up work? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

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