task

noun
\ ˈtask How to pronounce task (audio) \

Definition of task

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time
b : something hard or unpleasant that has to be done
c : duty, function
2 : subjection to adverse criticism : reprimand used in the expressions to take, call, or bring to task

task

verb
tasked; tasking; tasks

Definition of task (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to assign a task to employees tasked with updating the files
2 : to oppress with great labor tasks his mind with petty details
3 obsolete : to impose a tax on

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for task

Synonyms: Noun

assignment, chore, duty, job

Synonyms: Verb

assign, charge, commission, entrust (also intrust), trust

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for task

Noun

task, duty, job, chore, stint, assignment mean a piece of work to be done. task implies work imposed by a person in authority or an employer or by circumstance. charged with a variety of tasks duty implies an obligation to perform or responsibility for performance. the duties of a lifeguard job applies to a piece of work voluntarily performed; it may sometimes suggest difficulty or importance. the job of turning the company around chore implies a minor routine activity necessary for maintaining a household or farm. every child was assigned chores stint implies a carefully allotted or measured quantity of assigned work or service. a 2-month stint as a reporter assignment implies a definite limited task assigned by one in authority. a reporter's assignment

Noun

task, duty, and job mean a piece of work assigned or to be done. task is used for work given by a person in a position of authority. The boss used to give me every difficult task. duty is used when a person has responsibility to do the work. The duty of police is to protect people. job may mean that the work is necessary, hard, or important. We all have to do our job.

Examples of task in a Sentence

Noun

Our first task is to review the budget. one of my tasks in the morning is to make lunches for everyone in the family

Verb

I have been tasked by the host with bringing the pies for Thanksgiving this year.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Take a task off your calendar or move it to a more convenient or less stressful time. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "This 30-Day Mental Health Challenge Is Like a Makeover for Your Mood," 1 Apr. 2019 Dynamic email works by sucking a small portion of the web directly into the email pane, automating a particular task. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Update: Google Gmail, Microsoft Outlook.com add 'dynamic email,' to avoid the pain of new tabs," 27 Mar. 2019 Such a task mirrors what Radar Intercept Officers, the second crew members manning the F-14 Tomcat, performed in the iconic two-seat fighter jet. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force's New AI Is Like R2-D2 for Fighter Jets," 19 Mar. 2019 For Foytlin, being a mother of six and an activist can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Sarah Hurtes, Harper's BAZAAR, "Women Who Risk Everything to Defend the Environment," 30 Nov. 2018 Still, confirming the implications of the event beneath the Polar ice became a massive task of assembling observations and evidence. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blazing a trail: UW professor's dream leads to breakthrough in identifying origin of cosmic rays," 12 July 2018 According to the two Japanese news outlets, Kuboki told investigators that informing families of a patient's death was a burden, and a task reserved for the nurse on duty. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Nurse poisoned at least 20 ailing patients so they would die during someone else's watch," 10 July 2018 People with extreme positions are so vitriolic that trying to talk sense feels a Herculean task. Naperville Sun, "Letters to the Editor: Time for moderate views to take center stage, too many anti-Trump opinions in paper, more," 6 July 2018 Because individual workers’ output is finely measured, and their proficiency at completing a task becomes part of their online profiles, no one can be lazy and get away with it. The Economist, "Run, TaskRabbit, run: July 2030," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Piccioli and Chiuri arrived in January and were expecting to work on Valentino’s following fall collection, but the designer tasked them with working on spring instead. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Inside the Private World of Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli," 3 Mar. 2019 Unlike the company’s first game, which has players answer 10 multiple-choice questions to win a share of the prize money, HQ Words tasks them with guessing popular phrases one letter at a time. Jon Porter, The Verge, "HQ Trivia becomes HQ Trivia & Words as second game exits beta," 24 Dec. 2018 Trump’s administration has deployed more than 5,000 US military troops to the US-Mexico border, at first tasking them with mostly logistical work, and to help fortify the border with barbed wire in light of a migrant caravan from Central America. Tara Golshan, Vox, "What Trump’s “lethal force” authorization means at the border," 27 Nov. 2018 Panton got his start working for furniture designer Arne Jacobsen and his first major commission came from his father, who owned an inn and tasked him with revamping its restaurant in 1958. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Inside the maximalist, kaleidoscopic interiors of Verner Panton," 4 Sep. 2018 But he is lured back to the city by a rich man who tasks him with tracking down his daughter—who has been kidnapped without a ransom demand. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: A Fever Dream of Ransom and Rescue," 23 Aug. 2018 Her presence is something that’s hinted at, whispered, an oblique beauty that tasks you with joining up the dots. Waldemar Januszczak, A-LIST, "Kate Moss: The Golden Girl," 1 July 2018 Project Runway exec producer Desiree Gruber and husband Kyle MacLachlan also became fans of Geller after tasking her with helping their Jackapoo (Jack Russell and poodle mix) puppy Elvis socialize and become acclimated to bicoastal travel. Lesley Mckenzie, The Hollywood Reporter, "Meet Hollywood's Top Canine Trainer: "A Life Coach for Dogs and for People"," 18 June 2018 The White House tasked him with reporting back on the ONDCP operations and the activities of its acting director, a career bureaucrat, Weyeneth said. Robert O'harrow Jr., Anchorage Daily News, "Promoted six times and then fired: A 24-year-old political appointee's wild ride in Trump's Washington," 15 June 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for task

Noun

Middle English taske, from Middle French dialect (Picardy, Flanders) tasque, from Medieval Latin tasca tax or service imposed by a feudal superior, alteration of *taxa, from taxare to tax

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about task

Statistics for task

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for task

The first known use of task was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for task

task

noun

English Language Learners Definition of task

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of work that has been given to someone : a job for someone to do

task

verb

English Language Learners Definition of task (Entry 2 of 2)

: to assign (someone) a piece of work : to give (someone) a job to do

task

noun
\ ˈtask How to pronounce task (audio) \

Kids Definition of task

: a piece of work that has been assigned, needs to be done, or presents a challenge On Saturdays Claudia emptied the wastebaskets, a task she despised.— E. L. Konigsburg, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

task

noun
\ ˈtask How to pronounce task (audio) \

Medical Definition of task

: the performance that is required of the subject in a psychological experiment or test and that is usually communicated to a human subject by verbal instructions

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on task

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with task

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for task

Spanish Central: Translation of task

Nglish: Translation of task for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of task for Arabic Speakers

Comments on task

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

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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