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 Compassion Compassion is a core virtue of all the world’s major religions and a bedrock moral principle in professions like health care and social work. Mary Elizabeth Collins, The Conversation, "3 moral virtues necessary for an ethical pandemic response and reopening," 26 June 2020 Ginlack has worked in substance abuse since 2008 and earned a master’s degree in social work and mental health in 2017., "Fannie Lou Hamer's declaration 'I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired' is still a rally cry for Black people in Milwaukee," 25 June 2020 Vitale also points to Portugal's decriminalization of drugs and investment in social work in 2001. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Calls are growing to defund police in the US. Here are some lessons from overseas," 24 June 2020 The conversation turned to the idea of defunding the police, or the reallocation of funds from the police to other types of public service, including social work. Ed Masley, azcentral, "'To support the cause': How Black Lives Matter inspired this Phoenix rapper's new song," 19 June 2020 Hoy-Ellis is now an assistant professor of social work at the University of Utah who specializes in LGBTQ health equity. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, "How to beat loneliness during a pandemic? LGBTQ elders lend their wisdom," 17 June 2020 Brown quit her social work job, raised money through GoFundMe, and created a traveling dinner series to showcase her heritage. Priya Krishna, Southern Living, "Kardea Brown Honors Gullah Cuisine and Her Family’s Traditions," 17 June 2020 Police officers are underpaid, stressed out and overwhelmed with the additional roles society has thrust on them such as intervening in social work and mental health crises. Fox News, "After years of union objections, police reform legislation advances," 16 June 2020 Add the stresses of a pandemic on top of that and care suffers, says Carmen Logie, a professor of social work at the University of Toronto who is studying potential stigma surrounding COVID-19. Kat Eschner, Popular Science, "Sex during a pandemic can be risky. Here’s how to do it safely.," 10 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for social work

Time Traveler

The first known use of social work was in 1847

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Statistics for social work

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Social work.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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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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