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

The public works department is completing work on Kansas City’s first parking protected bike lanes along Armour Boulevard from Broadway to The Paseo. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "Will Kansas City ever be bike-friendly? The city is about to roll out a plan," 13 July 2018 Ulrich and Ross both said their festivities could not take place without help from their respective communities’ police, fire, and public works departments. Kathy Routliffe,, "Independence Day celebrations only possible with behind the scenes efforts," 3 July 2018 The Sandy Springs City Council has approved two contracts totaling more than $7.6 million to have the AECOM engineering firm provide traffic-related public works services. David Ibata, ajc, "Sandy Springs OKs $7.6M in service contracts," 28 June 2018 And some gangs have even taken to extorting money from local governments by forcing them to sign inflated public works contracts. Washington Post, "2 mayoral candidates killed in Mexico, 18 dead so far," 21 June 2018 The public works department’s initial 2018-19 budget of $8.9 million was increased to $9.1 million. Karen Pearlman,, "La Mesa gives update on two-year budget, new expenses cited," 19 June 2018 The word is lifted from a project by the artist collective Alterazioni Video, which has made a 10-year study of unfinished public works in Italy. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Virgil Abloh Champions Incompiuto—Or the Incomplete—With His Men’s Pre-Fall Collection for Off-White," 16 Nov. 2018 The museum languished even as the country lavished billions of dollars on sports stadiums and public works to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. Mauricio Savarese, Fox News, "Brazil museum fire sparks soul searching about spending," 27 Sep. 2018 The second phase, focused on public works, should wrap by April 2019, with the third and final phase—completion of a new sewer system—slated for a December 2019 completion. Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler, "Boracay May Limit Visitors and Flights," 13 Sep. 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.

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First Known Use of public works

1600, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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The first known use of public works was in 1600

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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

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