social work


Definition of social work 

: any of various professional activities or methods concretely concerned with providing social services and especially with the investigation, treatment, and material aid of the economically, physically, mentally, or socially disadvantaged

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Other Words from social work

social worker noun

Examples of social work in a Sentence

She is doing social work. He has a job in social work.

Recent Examples on the Web

Someone with a degree such as an M.S.W. (masters in social work) may have a lower rate than someone with a degree like a Ph.D., but should still be highly skilled. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "8 Signs a Sex Therapist Might Improve Your Life (and How to Find One)," 26 Oct. 2018 Ersson, 21, is a social work student at the University of Gothenburg and has worked as a volunteer for refugee groups. Bridget Read, Vogue, "A Swedish Student’s Plane Protest Went Viral After It Stopped a Deportation," 25 July 2018 These positions often require higher education but pay modest wages, such as teaching, social work, public health or law enforcement. Washington Post, "How to navigate confusing gov’t loan forgiveness program," 20 June 2018 Before the shooting, Julia Cash-Owens - with her degree in juvenile justice and decades in social work - appeared well-equipped to protect her vulnerable grandchildren from the chaos that family members said loomed at the edges of their lives. Cleve R. Wootson Jr.,, "She spent 14 years caring for a granddaughter with cerebral palsy. Then she shot her, Kentucky police say.," 15 Mar. 2018 Julia Danzy, 78, with degrees in social work from Columbia University and government administration from the University of Pennsylvania, has worked in the social services field for more than three decades. Maddie Hanna,, "Here are nominees for Philly's new school board," 26 Feb. 2018 Katie, who is working on a degree in social work at Boise State University, sees her father several times a week. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Ray Flachbart, former Blue Cross of Idaho CEO and Alzheimer's care advocate, has died," 17 Sep. 2015 Pals must be enrolled in a four-year college, or be working on a master’s degree, a social work degree, or a nursing or medical degree. Tara Bahrampour,, "These college students moonlight as 'grandkids' for hire. Seniors love it," 21 June 2018 Ramalingam, who considers her company to operate in the realm of digital social work, has identified commonalities between the individuals that tend to seek out and fall into hate groups. Erika Fry, Fortune, "How Tech Companies Like Google Deal With Terrorists on Their Platforms," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'social work.' 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 social work

1847, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for social work

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for social work

The first known use of social work was in 1847

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More Definitions for social work

social work


English Language Learners Definition of social work

: the work done by someone who works for a government or private organization that helps people who have financial or family problems

social work


Medical Definition of social work 

: any of various professional services, activities, or methods concretely concerned with the investigation, treatment, and material aid of the economically, physically, mentally, or socially disadvantaged

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More from Merriam-Webster on social work

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with social work

Spanish Central: Translation of social work

Nglish: Translation of social work for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about social work

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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