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 early New Deal would race to provide debt relief for farmers and homeowners, jobs for the unemployed, and public works projects – part of what demonstrators had been demanding for years. James N. Gregory, The Conversation, "A summer of protest, unemployment and presidential politics – welcome to 1932," 1 July 2020 Phoenix artists have painted these public works of art to express the same message that's been central to recent protests across the country: Black Lives Matter. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "'This is how we protest': The stories behind 3 new Black Lives Matter murals in Phoenix," 23 June 2020 About 530 students will work outside on beautification projects managed by the city’s parks and public works departments., "The week in business," 13 June 2020 The other four non-police employees who used the tuition program were in other city departments, including the current public works director Joseph Peart, who had the highest total of reimbursement of any of the 11 staff at more than $16,400. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Shenandoah staff repaid about $70,000 in tuition reimbursement program," 10 June 2020 Municipal dump trucks blocked off the street, preventing cars from passing through as people painted the street-width letters, and NBC Washington reported the painters were part of a city public works crew. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "'Black Lives Matter' mural painted in DC near the White House at direction of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser - reports," 5 June 2020 The city collected Beasley’s statement, one from Hitch and two more from public works employees. Julia Fair,, "'Political stunt' or racism? A finger wag and allegations of racial profiling shake up Cold Spring. It could come to a head tonight," 4 June 2020 An indictment filed in November accused Mr. Bagley of laundering $3 million in profits from foreign bribery and embezzlement schemes connected to public works projects in Venezuela. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, "Drug Crime Expert Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering," 2 June 2020 In places like Ferguson, the criminal justice or law-enforcement apparatus fuels public works through fines and fees and those kinds of initiatives. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Trump Declared Himself the 'President of Law and Order.' Here's What People Get Wrong About the Origins of That Idea," 2 June 2020

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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The first known use of public works was in 1600

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Statistics for public works

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Public works.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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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

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