public works

plural noun

Definition of public works 

: works (such as schools, highways, docks) constructed for public use or enjoyment especially when financed and owned by the government

Examples of public works in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There, some 30 municipalities work together to obtain a wide range of public works and construction services at a lower cost to individual governments. Gregory Tejeda, Daily Southtown, "Oak Forest to spend $20K more on sidewalk repairs this summer," 13 July 2018 Chris Phipps, public works director, said The American Society of Civil Engineers has given Anne Arundel a D. Schuh, a Republican seeking re-election in November, has made road maintenance one of the cornerstones of his campaign. Elisha Sauers,, "County Executive Schuh touts $4 million boost for filling potholes and paving roads in Anne Arundel," 12 July 2018 Harry, 33, has put the benefits of sports at the heart of his public work. Simon Perry,, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Kick Off Another Magical Day in Ireland!," 11 July 2018 Erin Jones, a spokeswoman for the city's public works department, said a sanitary sewer line broke and caused the dirt and street to cave in. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Sewage leaks likely a factor in Houston sinkholes, expert says," 10 July 2018 The contract is up for approval next week after passing through the board’s public works and transportation committee. Dan Moran, Lake County News-Sun, "Moran: Lake County looks to rejuvenate pavement before wear-and-tear sets in," 6 July 2018 According to Michael Gantick, the town’s director of public works, South Windsor recycles about 2,500 tons a year, including plastics, glass, metal and paper, and receives about $30,000 for from selling those. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "South Windsor Considering Separating Glass From Its Recycling Stream," 6 July 2018 As the Fourth of July is a national holiday, many of the city’s various departments, from public works to parks and recreation, are off. Katie V. Jones, Howard County Times, "All of the fun of the Fourth on July 7," 3 July 2018 The council approved a Year Three contract renewal valued at $6 million for public works/facilities services for the 2019 fiscal year, a 12.2 percent increase over FY 2018. David Ibata, ajc, "Sandy Springs OKs $7.6M in service contracts," 28 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of public works

1600, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about public works

Share public works

Statistics for public works

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for public works

The first known use of public works was in 1600

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for public works

public works


English Language Learners Definition of public works

: buildings and structures (such as schools, highways, and docks) that are built and owned by a government

More from Merriam-Webster on public works Encyclopedia article about public works

Comments on public works

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


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!