1 of 2


plural tasks
: a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time
: something hard or unpleasant that has to be done
: subjection to adverse criticism : reprimand
… the state government was called to task for not doing more to help the area around the casinos.Stephanie Powers
In the NFL, coaches often aren't brought to task for their worst decisions even after games.Rodger Sherman
see also take to task


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tasked; tasking; tasks

transitive verb

: to assign a task to
employees tasked with updating the files
: to oppress with great labor
tasks his mind with petty details
obsolete : to impose a tax on
Choose the Right Synonym for task

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
But deciding on a new head coach isn’t Eberl’s only task. Manuel Veth, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024 So the Help Desk put these new AI tools to the test with common work tasks. Danielle Abril, Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2024 Stockton and her husband David would have liked to run Just Cookies for a few more years, but moving to a different location with new customers is a tall task. The Indianapolis Star, 26 Feb. 2024 When traveling, keeping all your toiletries, makeup essentials, and jewelry organized can be a difficult task. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 26 Feb. 2024 Orion took on this monumental task without hesitation. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, 25 Feb. 2024 Yet, enforcement of this common-sense principal appears a daunting task for the California California Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for the state’s highway system. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, 24 Feb. 2024 But with at least 30,000 people unaccounted for, by Ukrainian estimates, the task is enormous. Sabra Ayres, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2024 Since the advent of civilizations, unionizing has promoted harmonious living with consolidation of domestic tasks. The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Feb. 2024
The Federal Aviation Administration has published a final report by an Organization Designation Authorization Expert Review Panel tasked to evaluate the effectiveness of Boeing’s BA -0.1% safety management system following recent incidents with the 737 MAX program. Marisa Garcia, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Saturday also saw the first Major League Soccer win for Smith, the coach with Premier League credentials tasked with uplifting a team widely expected to finish in the Eastern Conference cellar. Alex Zietlow, Charlotte Observer, 25 Feb. 2024 These competencies are crucial for management accountants tasked with guiding financial strategy. Bryce Welker, Miami Herald, 24 Feb. 2024 More importantly, the premiere introduces audiences to the new crime-solving team tasked with selling these cases. Amber Dowling, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 Researchers found clues while reviewing hundreds of pages of records, which indicated that a company tasked with pouring the DDT waste off the L.A. coast had also dumped low-level radioactive waste. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 21 Feb. 2024 This was motivated by a desire to avoid the all-too-possible scenario of a poor young NASA intern being tasked with creating new software to process satellite imagery, and then discovering only at the end of their project that another arm of the sprawling space agency had already done the work. IEEE Spectrum, 20 Feb. 2024 Their model ensures there aren’t strangers tasked with protecting churches, said William Chadwick, Charles’ son and the institute’s head instructor. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 20 Feb. 2024 Rather than trying to operate by sleight of hand, like a retoucher tasked with zhuzhing up our bland analogue reality, Sherman lets the seams of her interventions show, creating a kind of cybernated burlesque. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, 20 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'task.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near task

Cite this Entry

“Task.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/task. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a piece of assigned work

Medical Definition


: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on task

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