• Work


    • UK IPA: /wɜːk/
    • Geordie IPA: /wɔk/
    • US IPA: /wɝk/
    • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)k

    Origin 1

    From Old English weorc, worc, from Proto-Germanic *werką, from Proto-Indo-European *wérǵom; akin to Old Frisian werk, wirk, Old Saxon werk, Dutch werk, German Werk, Old High German werc, werah, Icelandic verk, Swedish verk, Danish værk, Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌺𐌹 (gawaúrki), Ancient Greek ἔργον (érgon, "work") (from ϝέργον), Avestan 𐬬𐬆𐬭𐬆𐬰 (vərəz, "to work, to perform"), Armenian գործ (gorç, "work"), Albanian argëtoj ("entertain, reward, please"). English cognates include bulwark, energy, erg, georgic, liturgy, metallurgy, organ, surgeon, wright.

    Full definition of work



    (countable and uncountable; plural works)
    1. (uncountable) Employment.
      1. Labour, occupation, job.
        My work involves a lot of travel.
        • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
          That you yet know not of.
        • Bible, 2 Chronicles xxxi. 21In every work that he began...he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
        • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 15, Edward Churchill still attended to his work in a hopeless mechanical manner like a sleep-walker who walks safely on a well-known round. But his Roman collar galled him, his cossack stifled him, his biretta was as uncomfortable as a merry-andrew's cap and bells.
      2. The place where one is employed.
        He hasn’t come home yet, he’s still at work.
      3. (uncountable) Effort.
        1. Effort expended on a particular task.
          Holding a brick over your head is hard work.   It takes a lot of work to write a dictionary.
          • 2013, Lee S. Langston, The Adaptable Gas Turbine, Turbines have been around for a long time—windmills and water wheels are early examples. The name comes from the Latin turbo, meaning vortex, and thus the defining property of a turbine is that a fluid or gas turns the blades of a rotor, which is attached to a shaft that can perform useful work.
        2. (physics) A measure of energy expended in moving an object; most commonly, force times distance. No work is done if the object does not move.
          Work is done against friction to drag a bag along the ground.
        3. (thermodynamics) A nonthermal First Law energy in transit between one form or repository and another. Also, a means of accomplishing such transit.See http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0004055.
        4. Product; the result of effort.
          1. (uncountable, often in combination) The result of a particular manner of production.
            There's a lot of guesswork involved.
          2. (uncountable, often in combination) Something produced using the specified material or tool.
            We've got some paperwork to do before we can get started.   The piece was decorated with intricate filigree work.
          3. (countable) A literary, artistic, or intellectual production.
            It is a work of art.
            the poetic works of Alexander Pope
            • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)to leave no rubs or blotches in the work
            • John Milton (1608-1674)The work some praise,
              And some the architect.
            • 1910, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price Chapter 1, We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps ? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic ?...”
          4. (countable) A fortification.
            William the Conqueror fortified many castles, throwing up new ramparts, bastions and all manner of works.
          5. (uncountable, slang, professional wrestling) The staging of events to appear as real.
          6. (mining) Ore before it is dressed.


    Origin 2

    From Old English wyrċan, from Proto-Germanic *wurkijaną ("to work"), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- ("to work"). Cognate with Old Frisian werka, wirka, Old Saxon wirkian, Low German warken, Dutch werken, Old High German wurken (German wirken, werken and werkeln), Old Norse yrkja and orka, (Swedish yrka and orka), Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌺𐌾𐌰𐌽.


    1. (intransitive) To do a specific task by employing physical or mental powers.
      He’s working in a bar.
      1. Followed by in (or at, etc.) Said of one's workplace (building), or one's department, or one's trade (sphere of business).I work in a national park;  she works in the human resources department;  he mostly works in logging, but sometimes works in carpentry
      2. Followed by as. Said of one's job title
        • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 17, This time was most dreadful for Lilian. Thrown on her own resources and almost penniless, she maintained herself and paid the rent of a wretched room near the hospital by working as a charwoman, sempstress, anything.
      3. I work as a cleaner.
      4. Followed by for. Said of a company or individual who employs.she works for Microsoft;  he works for the president
      5. Followed by with. General use, said of either fellow employees or instruments or clients.I work closely with my Canadian counterparts;  you work with computers;  she works with the homeless people from the suburbs
      6. (transitive) To effect by gradual degrees.he worked his way through the crowd;  the dye worked its way through;  using some tweezers, she worked the bee sting out of her hand
      7. (transitive) To embroider with thread.
      8. (transitive) To set into action.
        He worked the levers.
      9. (transitive) To cause to ferment.
      10. (intransitive) To ferment.
        • Francis Baconthe working of beer when the barm is put in
      11. (transitive) To exhaust, by working.
        the mine was worked until the last scrap of ore had been extracted.
      12. (transitive) To shape, form, or improve a material.
        He used pliers to work the wire into shape.
      13. (transitive) To operate in a certain place, area, or speciality.
        she works the night clubs;  the salesman works the Midwest;  this artist works mostly in acrylics
      14. (transitive) To operate in or through; as, to work the phones.
      15. (transitive) To provoke or excite; to influence.
        The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy.
      16. (transitive) To use or manipulate to one’s advantage.
        She knows how to work the system.
      17. (transitive) To cause to happen or to occur as a consequence.
        I cannot work a miracle.
      18. (transitive) To cause to work.
        He is working his servants hard.
      19. (intransitive) To function correctly; to act as intended; to achieve the goal designed for.
        • 2013-06-21, Oliver Burkeman, The tao of tech, The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about...and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention. Partly, this is a result of how online advertising has traditionally worked: advertisers pay for clicks, and a click is a click, however it's obtained.
      20. he pointed at the car and asked, "Does it work"?;  he looked at the bottle of pain pills, wondering if they would work;  my plan didn’t work
      21. (intransitive, figuratively) To influence.
        They worked on her to join the group.
      22. (intransitive) To effect by gradual degrees; as, to work into the earth.
      23. (intransitive) To move in an agitated manner.
        His fingers worked with tension.
        A ship works in a heavy sea.
        • Addisonconfused with working sands and rolling waves
      24. (intransitive) To behave in a certain way when handled;
        this dough does not work easily;  the soft metal works well
      25. (transitive, with two objects, poetic) To cause (someone) to feel (something).
        • 1909, Robert W. Service, Chapter , So sad it seemed, and its cheek-bones gleamed, and its fingers flicked the shore;
          And it lapped and lay in a weary way, and its hands met to implore;
          That I gently said: “Poor, restless dead, I would never work you woe;
          Though the wrong you rue you can ne’er undo, I forgave you long ago.”
      26. (obsolete, intransitive) To hurt; to ache.
    © Wiktionary