work 1 of 2

as in to serve
to have a certain purpose the human kidneys work as a filtering system for the blood

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in to perform
to produce a desired effect this headache remedy takes half an hour to work

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in to operate
to control the mechanical operation of show me how to work the machine

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


as in composition
a literary, musical, or artistic production unfortunately, many of her works are now out of print

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in factory
works plural a building or set of buildings for the manufacturing of goods a glass works where high quality glassware is made

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun work contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of work are drudgery, grind, labor, toil, and travail. While all these words mean "activity involving effort or exertion," work may imply activity of body, of mind, of a machine, or of a natural force.

too tired to do any work

In what contexts can drudgery take the place of work?

The meanings of drudgery and work largely overlap; however, drudgery suggests dull and irksome labor.

an editorial job with a good deal of drudgery

When might grind be a better fit than work?

The synonyms grind and work are sometimes interchangeable, but grind implies labor exhausting to mind or body.

the grind of the assembly line

When could labor be used to replace work?

The words labor and work are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, labor applies to physical or intellectual work involving great and often strenuous exertion.

farmers demanding fair compensation for their labor

When is toil a more appropriate choice than work?

The words toil and work can be used in similar contexts, but toil implies prolonged and fatiguing labor.

his lot would be years of back-breaking toil

When is it sensible to use travail instead of work?

Although the words travail and work have much in common, travail is bookish for labor involving pain or suffering.

years of travail were lost when the house burned

Thesaurus Entries Near work

Cite this Entry

“Work.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on work

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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