career

noun
ca·​reer | \kə-ˈrir \

Definition of career 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : speed in a course ran at full career

b : course, passage the sun's career across the sky

3 : a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life Washington's career as a soldier

4 : a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling a career in medicine often used before another noun a career diplomat

career

verb
careered; careering; careers

Definition of career (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to go at top speed especially in a headlong manner a car careered off the road

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Careen and Career

Verb

Some people might be confused by the warning to not confuse careen and career, because the most common sense of career ("a profession") is not much like any of the meanings of careen. But when employed as a verb, career does have some semantic overlap with careen; both words may be used to mean "to go at top speed especially in a headlong manner." A car, for instance, may either careen or career. Some usage guides hold, however, that the car is only careening if there is side-to-side motion, as careen has other meanings related to movement, among which is "to sway from side to side."

Did You Know?

Verb

Chances are you're very familiar with the noun career meaning "a profession followed as a permanent occupation." What you may not know is that the word career got its start in the world of medieval tournaments. Jousting required knights to ride at full speed in short bursts, and 16th-century English speakers used the noun "career" (from Middle French carriere) to refer to such gallops as well as to the courses knights rode. By the mid-17th century, the verb had acquired its general "go fast" meaning, and by the 19th century the noun had developed the workaday use that is common today. (In case you're wondering, "career" is not related to "careen," which also means "to move at high speed"; "careen" has nautical origins, tracing to the Latin word for "hull.")

Examples of career in a Sentence

Noun

She hopes to pursue a career in medicine. My career as a waitress lasted one day. During his long career in advertising he won numerous awards and honors.

Verb

she careered off to the class she'd almost forgotten
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Youth are provided with mentoring, job training, life skills training, mental health counseling, career and educational development. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Arizona groups offer health, housing help to LGBT youth," 14 July 2018 As tennis players, we are always caught up in the conflict of interest of having to pay our coaches, basically to be in charge of us, while expecting them to perform some kind of authoritarian take on our careers and practice schedules. Longreads, "Tennis vs. Tennis," 13 July 2018 This will be so exciting,’ and others that are looking to make this a career and jump around to be with as many community opportunities as possible on their resume. Jessi Virtusio, Post-Tribune, "Highland hosts modern take on classic fairy tale ‘Sleeping Beauty’," 12 July 2018 That was in June, a few weeks after the pair wrapped up their college golfing careers and 13 years since Musselman had introduced Jones to the sport in the wake of an earth-shattering medical diagnosis. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville golfer and caddie team up for Kentucky's PGA tournament," 12 July 2018 He has been plagued by injuries during his career and this was just his second this season start since coming off the disabled list after being sidelined by a left hamstring strain. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Angels' Garrett Richards Has Damage to His UCL, May Need Surgery," 11 July 2018 As his profile climbed ever higher, his career and personal life imploded. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Moments That Changed Us," 11 July 2018 Blair also continued to milk the controversy throughout the weekend, posting selfie video updates with information about the drama and attempting to capitalize on her viral success by promoting her acting career and asking for a job at BuzzFeed. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Stop Live-Tweeting Strangers Flirting," 9 July 2018 The foppish Johnson — an articulate campaigner — helped lead Brexit forces to victory in the June 2016 referendum that effectively ended Cameron’s career and set in motion more than two years of tortuous negotiations with the EU. Gregory Katz, The Seattle Times, "Out as UK foreign secretary: One more twist in Boris saga," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Sputnik Chic With the United States and Russia expelling diplomats, many people worry that the countries are careering toward another Cold War. New York Times, "Trends in Design and Home Furnishings," 8 May 2018 The males can be quite aggressive with other like-minded, mating males, and chase scenes featuring two or more brilliant yellow birds careering through the vegetation are not unusual. New York Times, "Beautiful and Brutal," 31 May 2018 Students now get almost no exposure to career opportunities in high school. Anthony P. Carnevale, Washington Post, "The Education and Labor departments were made for each other," 22 June 2018 Over the last 32 months, 152 players, ranging from veteran All-Stars to career minor leaguers, have been welcomed to Seattle or said goodbye to it. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "How Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto Wheeled and Dealed His Way to First-Half Success," 22 June 2018 While some scholars argue that Putin’s Russia is careering downward, others rank it second only to the United States. Simon Saradzhyan, Washington Post, "Is Vladimir Putin’s Russia in decline? We figured out how to measure ‘national power.’," 20 June 2018 On the field, his Russian teammates were careering toward him. Rory Smith, New York Times, "For Russia, Five Goals and One Big Sigh of Relief," 14 June 2018 Watson is Penn’s all-time record holder for receiving touchdowns in a season (14), career receptions (286), career receiving yards (3,777), career receiving touchdowns (33) and career all-purpose yards (4,116). Philly.com Staff, Philly.com, "2017 fall college academic all-area teams," 31 May 2018 And there’s nothing funny about what comedy can do to career longevity. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Candice Bergen was pretty psyched to get expelled from Penn," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'career.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of career

Noun

circa 1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1647, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for career

Noun

Middle French carriere, from Old Occitan carriera street, from Medieval Latin carraria road for vehicles, from Latin carrus car

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Statistics for career

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for career

The first known use of career was circa 1534

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More Definitions for career

career

noun

English Language Learners Definition of career

: a job or profession that someone does for a long time

: a period of time spent in a job or profession

career

noun
ca·​reer | \kə-ˈrir \

Kids Definition of career

1 : a period of time spent in a job or profession She had a long career in medicine.

2 : a job followed as a life's work He made teaching his career.

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Comments on career

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