em·​ploy·​ment | \im-ˈplȯi-mənt \

Definition of employment 

1 : use, purpose

2a : activity in which one engages or is employed seeking gainful employment

b : an instance of such activity

c : the extent or degree to which a labor force is employed Employment is high.

3 : the act of employing : the state of being employed employment of a pen in sketching

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Synonyms & Antonyms for employment


employ, engagement, hire


joblessness, nonemployment, unemployment

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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

Examples of employment in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

They were rushed to Indianapolis, met their new coaches and toured their new place of employment. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Colts rookies Nyheim Hines, Deon Cain could be the real deal," 14 June 2018 The goal was to see how trends in home sharing stacked against trends with local restaurant employment. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "Study claims Airbnb is great for your neighborhood’s economy, if it’s predominantly white," 11 July 2018 In San Diego, newspaper employment is down 83 percent since 2002. Evan Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "Even fishing and coal mining are not losing jobs as fast as the newspaper industry," 3 July 2018 But employment isn’t the same everywhere, notes Monster, which analyzed its data and found the top 10 U.S. cities for job seekers, as well as the industries that are hiring most. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Monster Reveals the Top 10 Jobs and Cities for Finding Work in 2018," 2 July 2018 Alternative employment may be a trendy concept, but some of the alternatives turn out to be not that great for ordinary workers. The Economist, "The insecurity of freelance work," 14 June 2018 More than 800 workers were on the site during the winter when employment was at its peak and interior work was moving along rapidly. James B. Nelson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks receive occupancy permit for new arena less than two years after groundbreaking," 5 June 2018 As the industry has retreated in recent years — total employment was just over 50,000 in January, down from 90,000 in 2012 — Alliance has fared better than most. New York Times, "A Courtside View of Scott Pruitt’s Cozy Ties With a Billionaire Coal Baron," 2 June 2018 And suburban employment is diffuse, decentralized, and for many of the city’s poor, virtually inaccessible. Jason Laughlin, Philly.com, "Getting city workers to suburban jobs is tough. A program trying to help is under threat," 30 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of employment

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for employment

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

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More Definitions for employment


em·​ploy·​ment | \im-ˈplȯi-mənt \

Kids Definition of employment

1 : the act of using something The artist is known for her employment of unusual materials.

2 : job sense 1, occupation I am seeking employment in your area.

3 : the act of hiring a person to do work



Legal Definition of employment 

1 : an activity or service performed for another especially for compensation or as an occupation

2 : the act of employing : the state of being employed

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Comments on employment

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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