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 Reports of incredibly low pay, unsafe working conditions, and other labor abuses have regularly surfaced for years in countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Boohoo’s labor issues are a far too common problem in fashion," 9 July 2020 Many working-from-home employees opted for far more relaxed looks of t-shirts and sweatpants rather than pinstripe suits and custom shirts. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "Brooks Brothers, the sharp-dressed retailer hurt by work-from-home casual wear, files for bankruptcy," 8 July 2020 The Uber and Lyft strikes of 2019, for instance, resulted in higher wages and improved working conditions for some drivers. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "As society relies on gig workers, will they see a boost in stature?," 2 July 2020 The campaign will target mothers who have been at home teaching and working, couples and millennials. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, "FFA cancels Indianapolis convention, extends contract to 2033," 26 June 2020 At the same time, the company has been criticized for relegating workers, many of them African American, to low pay and harsh working conditions. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "George Floyd protests lead to reckoning as Black employees speak out on racism and discrimination in the workplace," 17 June 2020 What has this unexpected working-from-home experience been like for you? Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "23 minutes with Peloton’s Robin Arzón," 15 June 2020 My mother came up with this recipe after our family's electric ice cream maker quit working and Dad's arm couldn't hand-crank enough to keep up with the appetites of three growing kids. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "How to make ice cream with no ice cream maker 🍦🍨," 10 July 2020 The Kellys grew up in the working-class South of the Slot neighborhood, living on Clara Street before renting an apartment at 47 South Park. Gary Kamiya,, "‘Terror Bandits’ rock 1926 SF with one of the city’s most horrifying crime sprees," 10 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Likewise, in an effort to prove that an institutional rot exists at the core of the criminal justice system, the media and many activists have emphasized modern policing’s slave patrol roots while saying little about its anti-working-class roots. Audrey Farley, The New Republic, "When Cops Kill White People, Black Lives Still Matter," 9 July 2020 Last week, members of The Wing sent a letter to the women’s co-working space’s board asking for significant changes to how the troubled startup does business. Fortune, "Magic Leap’s Peggy Johnson long aspired to be a CEO. Too few women set that intention," 8 July 2020 Like Michigan and Pennsylvania, Trump carried Wisconsin with strong support from white working-class voters, winning rural counties across the state with greater than 60% of the vote. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "‘Grim resolve’: With Biden up big and the Senate in sight, Democrats still haunted by fear of letdown," 6 July 2020 In addition to airport concessions workers, the union represents hotel housekeepers and other working-class hospitality employees. Jessica Boehm, The Arizona Republic, "Proposed union-backed ordinance stuns Phoenix hospitality industry," 2 July 2020 Christopher Hoyt co-founded the Pioneer Collective, a Seattle-area co-working outfit, in 2014. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, "Pay cuts for millions of U.S. workers worsen the pain of pandemic," 1 July 2020 This new series is set in New Orleans in a co-working space. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Romance author Roni Loren on the 'eye-catching' illustrated cover trend (plus her new cover!)," 30 June 2020 There were plenty of places to shop in her neighborhood, too, even as North St. Louis, a mostly Black and working-class part of town, fell into economic decline. Alec Macgillis, ProPublica, "How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing," 29 June 2020 Her parents—a factory worker and a part-time Urdu teacher—migrated from Pakistan to Oldham, a northern working-class town. The Economist, "Bagehot Munira Mirza, revolutionary conservative," 27 June 2020

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

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Working.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 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

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