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 plural the 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


There is a good working relationship between the departments. the working parts of the machine

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

People in the First World who have access to buying clothes every day at cheap prices don’t understand the impacts of that: the low wages, the working conditions. . Emily Farra, Vogue, "Legendary Surfer Kelly Slater Is Expanding His Sustainable Brand, Outerknown, to Include Clothes for Women," 12 Mar. 2019 Stronger labor laws and better working conditions were included in the trade pact that Mexico signed in November with the U.S. and Canada to replace Nafta. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Strikes at Low-Wage Plants Signal Revival of Labor Demands in Mexico," 13 Feb. 2019 The teachers are following the lead of educators across the country by donning red amid strikes and protests for better pay and working conditions. Colleen Slevin, The Seattle Times, "Denver teachers, officials negotiate to try to end strike," 12 Feb. 2019 Thousands of prisoners died from starvation, disease, and dangerous working conditions. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "The Saturn V Story: From Nazi Roots to America's Moon Rocket," 6 Feb. 2019 Flex workers, meanwhile, have no collective bargaining power and little, if any, means to advocate for higher wages or more humane working conditions. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon is cutting costs with its own delivery service — but its drivers don’t receive benefits," 26 Dec. 2018 Like factory workers before them, high-tech workers used the power of the strike to force their employers to give them better working conditions and to assert their power within the new digital economy. Marie Hicks, The Verge, "The long history behind the Google Walkout," 9 Nov. 2018 Amazon has come under fire from politicians including Sen. Bernie Sanders both for the pay of its warehouse employees as well as their working conditions. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Two workers have died at an Amazon warehouse in Baltimore," 3 Nov. 2018 That means employing artisans with traditional skill sets, making animal-cruelty-free products, providing safe working conditions (e.g., buildings that are up to code), and avoiding sweatshop labor. Lindsay Talbot, Marie Claire, "Your Everything Guide to a Sustainable Closet," 19 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For poor and working-class families, especially those who are Black and Brown, public schools are often the only option for primary and secondary education. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Access to Education for Black Children Proves Difficult for Their Parents, Creating a Disadvantage," 13 Mar. 2019 For the women in these pages, and with any luck for many more, the working world is shifting, fermenting, maturing. Mikael Jansson, Vogue, "14 Countries, 14 Superstars: The Global Actors Who Know No Limits," 14 Mar. 2019 According to The Wall Street Journal, Craig had initially listed the ranch, called Rancho Paseana, for $30 million a few years ago, and the property took a long time to sell because Craig wanted a buyer who would keep it as a working horse facility. Sarah Yang, House Beautiful, "Bill Gates Buys Jenny Craig's Horse Ranch," 10 Oct. 2014 But schools that serve poor, immigrant and working-class populations don’t have the luxury of assuming that paying for college isn’t a major issue for their students’ parents. Caitlin Macy, WSJ, "AP Tests Are Still a Great American Equalizer," 22 Feb. 2019 Their absence from the working world has wider economic consequences. Jeanna Smialek, The Seattle Times, "Millennial men leave perplexing hole in hot US job market," 20 Nov. 2018 The August date is crucial because few people realize the long history of unequal pay and unfair working conditions Black women have had to face. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Black Women's Labor in America Has Always Been Exploited," 7 Aug. 2018 That both were female candidates competing with male opponents also diminishes the notion that sexism was at the heart of Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 troubles with working-class men. Dante Chinni, WSJ, "Blue-Collar Voters Are Up for Grabs in 2020," 16 Dec. 2018 Roll Me Away In America, the roller coaster had more working-class origins. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "From Death Traps to Disneyland: The 600-Year History of the Roller Coaster," 13 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for working

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for working

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

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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).


an enemy or opponent

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