work·​ing | \ ˈwər-kiŋ How to pronounce working (audio) \

Definition of working

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the manner of functioning or operating : operation usually used in pluralthe inner workings of the government
2 : an excavation or group of excavations made in mining, quarrying, or tunneling usually used in plural



Definition of working (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : engaged in work especially for wages or a salary a working journalist a working mother
2 : adequate to permit work to be done a working majority
3 : assumed or adopted to permit or facilitate further work or activity a working draft
4 : spent at work working life
5 : being in use or operation a working farm

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Examples of working in a Sentence

Adjective There is a good working relationship between the departments. the working parts of the machine
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But often, those startups enter the program with just two or three people, and Catch already had a team of 10 working here. Scott Kirsner,, "Catch’s founders just wouldn’t take no for an answer," 13 Jan. 2020 One building had a single working shower for more than 50 inmates. Jerry Mitchell, ProPublica, "Lawmakers Refused to Increase an Infamous Prison’s Funding. Then, Chaos Erupted.," 12 Jan. 2020 My working theory is this: Pelosi realized that impeachment was a mistake. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Pelosi’s Impeachment Blunder," 9 Jan. 2020 If Emira is something of an anomaly, her boss, Alix Chamberlain, is a caricature of the working-mom influencer. Stephanie Hayes, The Atlantic, "Such a Fun Age Satirizes the White Pursuit of Wokeness," 8 Jan. 2020 Wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, who was injured on the first play of the Iron Bowl, was still in action and working with the first-team offense on Sunday. Tom Green |, al, "Auburn Outback Bowl practice notes: Jay Jay Wilson returns, Tigers work ‘worst-case scenarios’," 29 Dec. 2019 Their remarkable guidance taught me how to mould my PhD experience to suit my style of working and temperament. Navjot Kaur, Quartz India, "How to survive a PhD: hacks from a research scholar," 26 Dec. 2019 Obama provided tax relief for nearly every working American, but instead of sending citizens a check, as George W. Bush had done, his economists decided to structure it as a payroll tax cut, subtly increasing the size of everyone’s paycheck. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "A Decade of Liberal Delusion and Failure," 20 Dec. 2019 David Sedaris has been entertaining us with his biting tale of working as a department-store Christmas elf since 1992. Matthew J. Palm,, "Dark and edgy Christmas at Penguin Point with ‘Santaland Diaries,’ Phantasmagoria | Reviews," 13 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Instead, its neighborhoods are full of historic Victorian and working-class homes; most have weathered centuries of flooding., "On the most populated Ohio River island, this beekeeper found a way to better himself and his community," 13 Jan. 2020 More than a decade after her death, Cleveland is often reminded of Lewis’ grit and bare-knuckled advocacy for the poor and working-class people of the city. Phillip Morris, cleveland, "As Cleveland poverty worsens, state Supreme Court burns a bridge to equity: Phillip Morris," 29 Sep. 2019 Like Bernie Sanders, Cardi B authentically engages with an audience of young and working-class people who have often been left out of the traditional political process. NBC News, "Bernie Sanders, Cardi B discuss police brutality, 'Medicare for All' in new interview," 17 Aug. 2019 That is not a phenomenon unique to South Bend — a city with a famous university, Notre Dame, but also many poor and working-class residents. New York Times, "Did Pete Buttigieg Help Black People in South Bend?," 9 Dec. 2019 In the late 19th century, as women moved into the working world, women’s social clubs developed and bubbled with activity. Annie Gentile,, "Program Marks 100th Anniversary Of Women’s Suffrage," 14 Nov. 2019 Through one-on-one mentoring, family engagement and support services, the organization helps get students back on the path to graduation, ready to enter the working world. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Colorado Youth for a Change wants to solve the state’s school-dropout crisis. Here’s how they’re doing it.," 3 Nov. 2019 Through the early 1970s, the demolitions displaced some 1,800 poor and working-class families, most of them Puerto Rican, turning homes into vacant lots. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, "Essex Crossing Is the Anti-Hudson Yards," 7 Nov. 2019 Must gentrification always mean the displacement of the poor and working class or is there a means to have it both ways? Phillip Morris, cleveland, "Ohio City Rich and Ohio City Poor: Phillip Morris," 6 Oct. 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1708, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for working

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for working

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Working.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for working



English Language Learners Definition of working

: having a job
: of or relating to a person's job
: suitable to be worn while working


work·​ing | \ ˈwər-kiŋ How to pronounce working (audio) \

Kids Definition of working

1 : doing work especially for a living working people
2 : relating to work working hours
3 : good enough to allow work or further work to be done a working agreement

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More from Merriam-Webster on working

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for working

Spanish Central: Translation of working

Nglish: Translation of working for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of working for Arabic Speakers

Comments on working

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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