em·​ploy·​ment im-ˈplȯi-mənt How to pronounce employment (audio)
: activity in which one engages or is employed
seeking gainful employment
: an instance of such activity
: the extent or degree to which a labor force is employed
Employment is high.
: the act of employing : the state of being employed
employment of a pen in sketching
Choose the Right Synonym for employment

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

Example Sentences

laws that have encouraged the employment of women I've been looking for employment in the machine trade. The new factory should provide employment for hundreds of workers. unskilled workers trying to find paid employment She hopes to find employment as a teacher. The magazine did well during the course of her employment as editor. Employment is at an all-time high in this part of the state. The city is faced with inadequate housing and a lack of employment. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Women have been barred from most fields of employment, ordered to wear head-to-toe clothing in public and prevented from using parks and gyms. Julianne Mcshane, NBC News, 19 Mar. 2023 Brock submitted the obituary for both his parents, but on Feb. 2, Amazon denied his request for time off and subsequently terminated his employment, the complaint alleges. Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times, 17 Mar. 2023 People felt that the competitive, upward, ambitious nature of employment made someone who wants to take a less demanding role face suspicion – or disdain. Avivah Wittenberg-cox, Forbes, 16 Mar. 2023 After the discovery, Ryan was arrested at his place of employment and taken into custody for the harassment warrant and the violation of an order of protection. Stephanie Wenger, Peoplemag, 15 Mar. 2023 Since the indictment, the department placed Lanouar on non-disciplinary suspension while the department re-evaluated his employment. Perry Vandell, The Arizona Republic, 15 Mar. 2023 Preston is proposing the new team would engage with people who are dealing, prevent violence, connect dealers who are addicted to treatment and transition people off the streets, possibly through alternative employment. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Mar. 2023 With Britain still boasting higher rates of employment and lower unemployment than most EU countries, business groups have pushed the government to relax post-Brexit immigration rules. Reuters, CNN, 14 Mar. 2023 Every one of those markets, of course, has a high concentration of tech employment. Lance Lambert, Fortune, 12 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English employement "expenditure of funds," from emploien "to apply to a task, employ entry 1" + -ment -ment

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of employment was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near employment

Cite this Entry

“Employment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/employment. Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


em·​ploy·​ment im-ˈplȯi-mənt How to pronounce employment (audio)
: use entry 1 sense 1a, purpose
also : the act of using
: the act of hiring a person for work
: the job for which one is hired : occupation
: the state of being employed
employment in the machine trade
: the relative number of persons in a labor force who are employed
employment is high

Legal Definition


: an activity or service performed for another especially for compensation or as an occupation
: the act of employing : the state of being employed

More from Merriam-Webster on employment

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