life·​work ˈlīf-ˈwərk How to pronounce lifework (audio)
: the entire or principal work of one's lifetime
also : a work extending over a lifetime

Examples of lifework in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What could be better for any author than for his lifework to become a reader’s lifework, too? Yiyun Li, The Atlantic, 4 Sep. 2023 The current Wiseman revival can arguably be traced back to 2014, when Venice gave the director an honorary Golden Lion for his lifework. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 Pampanin, who now works for the mayor’s civil rights division, received a private showing of Whitten’s lifework, from the early portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, with black and green olives in the foreground. Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2021 But plenty of Haitians do, including other artists and students hoping to make art their lifework. Websder Corneille, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Feb. 2023 This has been my lifework, as a futurist turned presenturist. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2023 Getting African art accepted into Western art museums was a lifework for many of them. David Frum, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2022 His lifework has the enormous humanistic scope of living myths, and the political insight to challenge them with underlying realities each step of the way. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 23 July 2022 Among the many reasons to write a memoir, the realization that the government could decide to eradicate any evidence of your lifework or even of your life might be the most extreme. Joan Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lifework.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1837, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lifework was in 1837

Dictionary Entries Near lifework

Cite this Entry

“Lifework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


life·​work -ˈwərk How to pronounce lifework (audio)
: the entire or chief work of one's lifetime

More from Merriam-Webster on lifework

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