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Work (countable and uncountable; plural Works)
  1. (uncountable) Labour, employment, occupation, job.
    My work involves a lot of travel.
  2. (uncountable) The place where one is employed.
    He hasn’t come home yet, he’s still at work.
  3. (uncountable) 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.
  4. (uncountable, often in combination) The result of a particular manner of production.
    There's a lot of guesswork involved.
    Let's take the guess work out of it.
  5. (uncountable, often in combination) Something produced using the specified material or tool.
    We've got some paperwork to do before we can get started.
    With the rigors of clinical trials, there's a lot of paper work
  6. (countable) A literary, artistic, or intellectual production.
    It is a work of art.
  7. (uncountable, 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.
  8. (uncountable, thermodynamics) A nonthermal First Law energy in transit between one form or repository and another. Also, a means of accomplishing such transit.[1].
  9. (countable) A fortification.
    William the Conqueror fortified many castles, throwing up new ramparts, bastions and all manner of works.
  10. (uncountable, slang, professional wrestling) The staging of events to appear as real.


Derived terms


Work (third-person singular simple present works, present participle working, simple past and past participle worked or rarely wrought)

  1. (intransitive) To do a specific task by employing physical or mental powers.
    He’s working in a bar.
    1. Followed by in. 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
      • I work as a cleaner.
    3. Followed by for. Said of a company or individual who employs.
      • She works for Microsoft.
        He works for the president.
    4. Followed by with. General use, said of either fellow employees or instruments or clients.
      • I work closely with my Canadian counterparts.
        I work with computers.
        I work with the homeless people from the suburbs.
  2. (transitive) To effect by gradual degrees.
    He worked his way through the crowd.
    The dye worked its way through.
    Using some tweezers, he worked the bee sting out of his hand.
  3. (transitive) To embroider with thread.
  4. (transitive) To set into action.
    He worked the levers.
  5. (transitive, Zymurgy) To cause to ferment.
  6. (transitive) To exhaust, by working.
    the mine was worked until the last scrap of ore had been extracted.
  7. (transitive) To shape, form, or improve a material.
    He used pliers to work the wire into shape.
  8. (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.
  9. (transitive) To operate in or through; as, to work the phones.
  10. (transitive) To provoke or excite; to influence.
    The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy.
  11. (transitive) To use or manipulate to one’s advantage.
    She knows how to work the system.
  12. (transitive) To cause to happen or to occur as a consequence.
    I cannot work a miracle.
  13. (transitive) To cause to work.
    He is working his servants hard.
  14. (intransitive) To function correctly; to act as intended; to achieve the goal designed for.
    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.
  15. (intransitive, figuratively) To influence.
    They worked on her to join the group.
  16. (intransitive) To effect by gradual degrees; as, to work into the earth.
  17. (intransitive) To move in an agitated manner.
    His fingers worked with tension.
  18. (intransitive) To behave in a certain way when handled;
    This dough does not work easily.
    The soft metal works well.
  19. (ditransitive) To cause (someone) to feel
  20. (obsolete, intransitive) To hurt; to ache.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XXI:
      ‘I wolde hit were so,’ seyde the Kynge, ‘but I may nat stonde, my hede worchys so—’

Derived terms

Adjectives for Work

able; abortive; absurd; accessible; accomplished; admired; aesthetic; aggressive; airy; alleged; ambitious; analogous; anatomical; architectural; arduous; artistic; authentic; authoritative; barbarous; beneficent; biographical; blessed; blundering; brain-directed; celebrated; bread-winning; calamitous; caretaking; catalogue; chamber; changeless; characteristic; charming; cherished; choicest; clean; clerical; colossal; commemorative; compassionate; comprehensive; conscienceless; conscientous; conspicuous; constructive; contemporary; continued; creative; creditable; critical; damp; defective; dental; desolate; destructive; desultory; development; dignified; diplomatic; diversified; domestic; dramatic; dreary; drudgery; durable; easy; ecclesiastical; editorial; egocentric; elaborate; elegant; embroidered; entertaining; epoch-making; exact; executive; exhaustive; experimental; explicable; expressive; exquisite; extemporaneous; extension; exterior; extravagant fanciful; fascinating; fatiguing; fiendish finicky; flourishing; free-lance; frenzied ghastly; gigantic; graceful; grim; hand harassing; hard; harmonious; hasty; hazardous; heartbreaking; helpless; home; hospital; humblest; humorous; idealistic; immediate; immoral; immortal; impassioned; imperishable; important; imposing; impressive; incomparable; indifferent; individual; ingenious; inimitable; inner; intellectual; intensive; interesting; irregular; irreligious; irreproachable; journalistic; laboratory; laborious; lacework; lax; licentious; literary; lofty; long-baffled; luminous; lyrical; majestic; makeshift; manifold (pi); masterful; masterly; mature; mechanical; memorable; menial; meretricious; meritorious; merry; monumental; multitudinous (pi); mystical; mythological; nefarious; new; noble; noted; noteworthy; objective; operative; orchestral; ornamental; outer; painful; patriotic; peaceful; permanent; perpendicular; persistent; philanthropic; philosophic; photographic; pianoforte; pioneer; piquant; pleasant; ponderous; popular; practical; profitable; prose; radiant; redeeming; regretful; remarkable; remunerate; reposing; representative; reproductive; risky; rhapsodical; routine; rudimentary; ruinous; rural; scandalous; sensational; sensitive; serious; sham; shielding; short; shriving; significant; sinful; sinless; solid; solitary; spontaneous; startling; statistical; steady; stellar; stern; subsequent; straightforward; stupendous; substantial; subtle; superficial; supplementary; suspended; symbolic; symphonic; systematic; tasteful; tawdry; technical; tedious; theological; theoretical; ticklish; tiring; titanic; toilsome; tolerable; unaccountable; tragic; unfruitful; unhallowed; uniting; unnecessary; unremitting; unsatisfactory; unstinted; unworthy; uplifting; urgent; valorous; variegated; valuable; vigorous; vital; vocal; voluntary; wearisome; well-composed; wholesome; winter; wondrous; worldly; master.

Verbs for Work

abandon—; acclaim—; accomplish—; buckle down to—; carry on—; christen—; comprehend—; conceive—; conclude—; delegate—; deprive of—; detail—; differentiate—; digest—; discredit—; distinguish—; dive into—; drug with—; efface—; embark upon—; enlarge—; execute—; flinch at—; force —; foster—; fulfill—; hamper—; hinder—; immerse in—; impair—; improve—; investi¬gate—; issue—; knock off—; mar—; master —; merge—; minimize—; nurture—; outdo —; perfect—; perform—; pigeonhole—; prosecute—; provide—; reconstruct—; recount—; regulate—; remunerate for—; retard—; shirk—; simplify—; submit—; supplement—; suspend from—; swamp with —; terminate—; thrive on—; undo—; wind up with—; wrestle with—; —blunts; — ceases; —commences; —confirms; —confounds; —constitutes; —devolves; —eases; —encumbers; —engrosses; —ennobles; — entails; —exacts; —extolls; —galls; — glorifies; —honors; —imbeds; —involves; —inspires; —overwhelms; —rectifies; suspends.

Adverbs for Work

diligently; feverishly; passionately; energetically; zealously; automatically; faithfully; diurnally; persistently; furiously; simultaneously; concertedly; strenuously; indefatigably; minutely; assiduously; prodigiously; unremittingly; sedulously; spasmodically; continuously; effectually; exquisitely; harmoniously; independently; conscientiously; competently; listlessly.


Grand Guignol, Nachtmusik, Passion play, Tom show, abatis, absolute music, accomplish, accomplished fact, accomplishment, acetify, achieve, achievement, acidify, acidulate, act, acta, acting, action, activism, activities, activity, adaptation, admix, advance, advanced work, advantage, adventure, affair, affairs, affect, agency, air varie, aleatory, aleatory music, alkalify, alkalize, alloy, amalgamate, answer, antimasque, arch dam, arrangement, art, art object, article, artifact, assignment, attain, attempt, audience success, author, autograph, avail, backset, backstop, bag, balistraria, ballet, bamboo curtain, bank, banquette, bar, barbed-wire entanglement, barbican, barrage, barricade, barrier, bartizan, bastion, battlement, be busy, be effective, be employed, be equal to, be in action, be productive, be responsible for, be right, bear, bear-trap dam, beaver dam, befit, befitting, beget, behave, behavior, bemingle, bend, benefit, best seller, bias, blend, block out, blow, blubber, boil, boil over, bomb, book, boom, borate, bottom, bound book, brainchild, breakwater, breastwork, breed, bric-a-brac, brick wall, bring about, bring forth, bring into being, bring to effect, bring to fruition, bring to pass, broadcast drama, bubble, bubble over, bubble up, buffer, bulkhead, bulwark, burble, burden, burlesque show, business, busy, busywork, calling, carbonate, career, career building, careerism, carry on, carry on business, carry out, carry through, carve, casemate, cast, catalyze, cause, chamber music, chamber orchestra, char, charade, chare, charge, chemical, cheval-de-frise, child, chisel, chlorinate, chore, circumvallation, classic, clear up, cliff hanger, closet drama, coalesce, cofferdam, coinage, color, coloring book, combine, comedy drama, commerce, commingle, commission, commitment, commix, compass, compose, composition, compound, computer printout, conceive, concern, concernment, concoct, concoction, conduct, conglomerate, consummate, contract, contravallation, copy, counterscarp, coup, crack, craft, create, creation, creature, critical success, crowning achievement, cultivate, culture, curtain, cut, dam, daytime serial, deal, deal with, dealings, debug, decipher, decode, deed, defense, definitive work, delve, demibastion, descant, design, dialogue, dig, dike, direct, direction, dirty work, discharge, disentangle, dispatch, dispose, dispose of, distillation, ditch, divine, do, do business, do chars, do it, do the chores, do the job, do the trick, do with, document, documentary drama, doing, doings, donkeywork, dope, dope out, draft, drama, dramalogue, dramatic play, dramatic series, drawbridge, dress, drive, driving, drudge, drudgery, duodrama, duologue, duty, earthwork, edited version, effect, effectuate, effervesce, efform, effort, electrolyze, electronic music, embankment, employ, employment, emulsify, enact, enclosure, end product, end use, endeavor, engagement, engender, engineer, engrossment, entanglement, enterprise, epic theater, errand, escarp, escarpment, essay, essence, establish, etude, execute, execution, exercise, exert, exertion, experimental theater, explain, exploit, extract, extravaganza, fag, failure, fair copy, fait accompli, fallow, fashion, father, fathom, fatigue, feat, fence, ferment, fertilize, fetch, fiction, fieldwork, figure, figure out, fill the bill, final draft, find out, find the answer, find the solution, finished version, first draft, fish to fry, fit, fix, fizz, fizzle, flimsy, flop, folio, follow a trade, force, forge, form, formalize, fortalice, fortification, forward, found, frame, fruit, fulfill, function, functioning, fuse, game, gasser, gate, generate, gest, gestate, get, get by, get right, give birth to, give occasion to, give origin to, give rise to, giveaway, glacis, go, go around, gravity dam, great work, grind, groin, grotesque, guess, guess right, guggle, gurgle, hack it, hand, handicraft, handiwork, handle, handling, handwork, happening, hardback, harmonization, harrow, hash, have a job, have effect, have free play, have it, have play, hew, hiss, hit, hit it, hit show, hoe, hold, holograph, homework, homogenize, homopolymerize, hydrate, hydraulic-fill dam, hydrogenate, hydroxylate, immediate purpose, immingle, immix, improvisational drama, inaugurate, incidental music, incline, induce, industrialize, industry, influence, institute, instrumental music, integrate, interblend, interest, interlace, interlard, intermingle, intermix, interpret, intertwine, interweave, invention, iron curtain, isomerize, issue, jam, jetty, job, job of work, jumble, just do, juvenile, juvenile book, keep busy, keep up, kitsch, knead, knock off, knock out, labor, lay out, lead, leaping weir, legitimate drama, letter, levee, lick, lick into shape, lick of work, lifework, limp-cover book, line, line of business, line of work, list, literae scriptae, literary artefact, literary production, literature, logjam, lookout, loophole, lucubration, lunette, machicolation, magnum opus, make, make go, make out, make the grade, make use of, make-work, manage, management, maneuver, manipulate, manipulation, mantelet, manual labor, manufactory, manufacture, manuscript, masque, mass-produce, master, masterpiece, masterwork, matter, matters in hand, measure, meet, meet requirements, melodrama, merge, merlon, metier, militate, mill, milldam, mingle, mingle-mangle, minstrel show, mint, mintage, miracle, miracle play, mission, mix, mix up, moat, mobile, moil, mold, mole, monodrama, monologue, moonlight, morality, morality play, mound, move, movements, mulch, museum piece, music drama, musical revue, mystery, mystery play, new mintage, nitrate, nocturne, nonbook, nonfiction, not come amiss, notebook, novel, nude, number, obligation, occasion, occupation, odd job, office, offspring, old master, open the lock, opera, operancy, operate, operation, operational purpose, operations, oppress, opus, opuscule, opusculum, orchestration, original, originate, origination, outcome, outgrowth, outwork, overdrive, overproduce, overt act, overtask, overtax, overwork, oxidize, pageant, pains, palisade, panel show, pantomime, paper, paperback, parados, parapet, parchment, pass, pass muster, passage, pasticcio, pastiche, pastoral, pastoral drama, penscript, pepsinate, percolate, perform, perform on, performance, performing, perk, peroxidize, persuade, phosphatize, picture book, piece, piece of virtu, piece of work, piece of writing, pilot, plan, plant, play, playbook, playlet, plop, plow, plugging, plumb, ply, pocket book, poem, polish off, polymerize, portcullis, postern gate, practice, practice a profession, praxis, prayer book, predispose, printed matter, printout, problem play, proceed, proceeding, produce, product, production, profession, profit, program, program music, project, promote, prompt, proposition, prune, psalmbook, psalter, psych, psych out, psychodrama, publication, purpose, pursuit, put away, puzzle out, qualify, quiz show, racket, radio drama, rake, rampart, rat race, ravel, ravel out, ravelin, reach, react, reading matter, realize, recension, redan, redoubt, reduce, res gestae, resolve, responsibility, result, review, revue, ricercar, riddle, roadblock, rock-fill dam, role, rough out, roughcast, roughhew, run, running, sally port, satisfy, scarp, sconce, score, scramble, screed, scrip, script, scrive, scroll, sculpt, sculpture, scut work, seawall, second draft, see to, seethe, sensational play, serial, serve, serve the purpose, service, set, set afloat, set on foot, set up, set up shop, shape, show, shuffle, shutter dam, simmer, sire, sitcom, situation comedy, sketch, sketchbook, skit, slavery, slogging, soap, soap opera, soft-cover, soften up, solve, sonata, sonatina, songbook, sort out, spade, spadework, sparkle, specialization, specialty, spectacle, stabile, stage play, stage show, stamp, stand, stand up, standard work, statue, stay employed, steer, steering, step, still life, stint, stir up, stockade, stone wall, storybook, straight drama, strain, stretch, string orchestra, string quartet, strive, striving, stroke, stroke of work, study, stunt, suffice, suit the occasion, sulfate, sulfatize, sulfonate, suspense drama, sway, sweat, swing, syncretize, tableau, tableau vivant, tailor, take, take care of, take effect, take it, talk show, task, tax, teleplay, television drama, television play, tenaille, tend, the written word, theater of cruelty, theme and variations, thermoform, thin, thin out, thing, thing done, things to do, throw together, tick, till, till the soil, tinge, tiresome work, title, toil, tome, tone, toss together, total theater, tour de force, trade, trade book, transact business, transaction, transcript, transcription, travail, treadmill, trio, trouble, tug, turn, turn a hand, turn the trick, typescript, ultimate purpose, undertaking, undo, unlock, unravel, unriddle, unscramble, untangle, untwist, unweave, use, utilize, vallation, vallum, variation, variety show, vaudeville, vaudeville show, vehicle, venture, version, virtu, vocation, volume, volume-produce, walk, walk of life, wall, wear down, weed, weed out, weigh with, weir, wicket dam, wield, word-of-mouth success, work at, work for, work of art, work out, working, workings, works, writing


Etymology 1

Old English weorc, worc; akin to Old Frisian werk, wirk, Old Saxon, Dutch werk, German Werk, Old High German werc, werah, Icelandic & Swedish verk, Danish værk, Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌺𐌹 (gawaúrki), Ancient Greek ἔργον (érgon, work) from ϝέργον, Avestan verez (to work), Armenian գործ (gorç, work). Cognates include: bulwark, energy, erg, georgic, liturgy, metallurgy, organ, surgeon, wright.

Etymology 2

Old English wyrċan, cognate with Old Frisian werka, wirka, Old Saxon wirkian, Low German warken, Dutch werken, Old High German wurken (German wirken), Old Norse yrkja (Swedish yrka), Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌺𐌾𐌰𐌽.



The translations below need to be checked.


  1. See


The translations below need to be checked.