Meaning of WORK in English


work that somebody does

1. work that someone does as part of their job

2. work that a student does

3. work that you have to do in your home

4. a piece of work done by an artist, musician etc

5. the effort involved in working

6. unpleasant or boring work

to work/do work

7. to do a job that you get paid for

8. to do work that is not part of your job

9. to be at the place where you work

something you have to do

10. a piece of work that you have to do

11. an important piece of work

12. to give someone work to do


see also








1. work that someone does as part of their job

▷ work /wɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun]

the things that you have to do in your job, which need time and effort :

▪ What kind of work are you looking for?

▪ He liked the work, and he was good at it too.

do some/more etc work

▪ Scott’s doing some work for me at the moment, as it happens.

▪ I didn’t get much work done today.

▪ Being in the police isn’t all action. Administration is a large part of the work we do.

personnel/secretarial/bar etc work

▪ Have you ever done bar work before?

▪ He’s doing construction work these days.

▪ It’s clerical work mainly -- pretty boring.

voluntary/charity work

work that you do not get paid for

▪ She does two afternoons voluntary work at the playgroup.

▪ Are you still involved in charity work?

extra/more/additional work

▪ The last thing I want is extra work.

▷ business /ˈbɪznɪs, ˈbɪznəs/ [uncountable noun]

work that you do in your job, especially work that involves buying and selling, travelling to different places, or discussing things such as contracts with people :

▪ I was in London last month because I had some business there.

▪ Gerald left, saying he had some important business to attend to.

▪ Some insurance companies offer lower rates for drivers who do not use their cars for business.

▪ ‘Is this trip for business or pleasure?’ ‘Business, I’m afraid.’

do business

▪ The paper claims to provide proof that some drug lords are doing business from their jail cells.

business trip/meeting/traveller etc

▪ ‘Where’s Michael?’ ‘He’s at a business meeting.’

▪ This is strictly a business trip.

▪ Our main market is the business traveler looking for cheap overnight accommodation.

on business

for business, not pleasure

▪ I have to go to Tokyo next month on business.

▷ duties /ˈdjuːtizǁˈduː-/ [plural noun]

the various things that you have to do as part of your job - used especially in contracts or other official documents :

somebody’s duties

▪ In addition to secretarial and general office work, your duties will include providing the directors with refreshments.

▪ As soon as she returned home from her honeymoon, she resumed her medical duties at the clinic.

go about/perform/fulfil duties

▪ A teacher can be dismissed for not performing his or her contractual duties.

▪ She is a member of staff, and like all of us, she has duties to fulfil.

▪ I admired him, especially because of the way he went about his duties efficiently.

suspend somebody/relieve somebody from duties

to stop them doing their job for a period of time

▪ Three instructors have been suspended from duties while sexual harassment charges are investigated.

▪ Nine officers were relieved of their duties after McDuffie’s death.

2. work that a student does

▷ homework /ˈhəʊmwɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun]

the work that a student has to do at home as part of their studies :

▪ My brother always used to help me with my homework.

do (your) homework

▪ I’m sorry Gail, but Amber has to stay home and do her homework.

▪ Oh, I’ve got so much homework to do!

▪ Did you get your homework done Jason?

have homework

▪ I don’t have any homework tonight.

▪ Have you got a lot of homework then?

for homework

▪ For homework, I’d like you to finish exercises 2 and 3 on page 24.

English/geography etc homework

▪ Dave, have you done your French homework?

▷ classwork /ˈklɑːswɜːʳkǁˈklæs-/ [uncountable noun]

the work that a student does when they are at school, rather than work they do at home :

▪ Mrs Hoffmann, I’m calling about Mike’s classwork. There are some problems.

▪ The units are ideal for classwork, but can also be used by students at home.

▷ schoolwork /ˈskuːlwɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun]

all the work that a student has to do for their studies :

▪ Johnny’s had a lot of problems at home recently and it’s starting to affect his schoolwork.

▪ The program combines schoolwork with job experience.

▪ Tim, a third-grader, had difficulty with his schoolwork, and also found it hard to make friends.

▷ coursework /ˈkɔːʳswɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun] British

the work that a student has to do for the course that they are studying, especially when this is compared with work done in examinations :

▪ Half of the marks are for the exam, the rest are for coursework.

▪ None of the coursework seemed to have much relevance to being a nurse in a busy hospital.

▪ I’m just so behind on the coursework.

▷ studies /ˈstʌdiz/ [plural noun] formal

the work that a student does at a school or university :

somebody’s studies

▪ After the war, he resumed his studies at the University of Turin.

▪ Her parents insisted that she give up the vacation job, as they felt it was interfering with her studies.

finish/complete your studies

▪ After completing her studies at the University, she worked as a nurse for six years.

3. work that you have to do in your home

▷ housework /ˈhaʊswɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun]

work that needs to be done in your home, for example, cleaning, washing clothes, or keeping rooms tidy :

▪ None of her kids ever help with the housework.

▪ I’ve got to catch up on the housework this weekend.

do housework

▪ Well, I did all my housework this morning, though you wouldn’t think it to look at the place now.

▷ work /wɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun]

the things that you have to do in your home, for yourself or your family :

▪ The garden needs a bit more work, but it’s almost finished.

▪ Use the best tools and materials you can afford to give a professional finish to your DIY work.

do some/any more/a bit of etc work

▪ ‘Where’s Dave?’ ‘He’s outside, doing some work on the car, I think.’

work on

▪ I’m not doing any more work on the house this year, I can’t be bothered.

4. a piece of work done by an artist, musician etc

▷ work /wɜːʳk/ [countable noun usually plural]

something such as a painting, film, book, or long piece of music produced by an artist, writer etc :

▪ The painting is one of Picasso’s earlier works.

▪ A major new work by one of Poland’s leading film directors will be shown next Saturday.

work of art

a painting or sculpture, especially a famous, important, or very valuable one

▪ The highest price paid for a work of art was the £30.2 million for Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’.

complete works of somebody

all the things that someone has produced

▪ the complete works of William Shakespeare

▷ piece /piːs/ [countable noun]

something that has been produced by an artist, musician, or writer, for example a painting or drawing or a short piece of music or writing :

▪ The concert began with three short pieces by the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos.

▪ The collection includes pieces in both oils and watercolours, with a range of still life paintings.

piece of music/writing/work etc

▪ Another typical piece of Owen’s work is the poem, ‘The Sentry’.

▪ a truly impressive piece of Greek sculpture

5. the effort involved in working

▷ work /wɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun]

▪ David tries to avoid work at all times.

▪ It seems to be an awful lot of work to keep this place looking tidy.

hard work

▪ Finally, I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work this year.

▪ My daughter gained her grades through sheer hard work and determination.

put work into something

▪ His last few speeches had been awful, and he knew he had to put more work into them.

▪ Phil has had the car for two years and has put hours of work into it.

a considerable/huge/immense etc amount of work

▪ A considerable amount of work was necessary to establish even this basic framework.

▪ The students have put a huge amount of work into the scheme.

good/sterling work

used to say that the effort someone has made is good

▪ Well done Peter -- keep up the good work.

▪ I hope you’ll join me in paying tribute to the sterling work done by the committee this year.

▷ effort /ˈefəʳt/ [uncountable noun]

the physical or mental energy that is needed to do something :

▪ It seemed like a lot of effort for a very small gain.

▪ His last piece does require some effort from the listener, but it’s well worth it.

with effort

▪ He mounted the slope with effort, breathing hard.

a waste of effort

▪ I could have told you it would be a waste of effort.

put effort in/into something

▪ After all the effort I put in, they had better be satisfied!

▪ Vicki has hardly put in any effort, yet she’s expecting the same rewards as everyone else.

take/require effort

▪ This exercise isn’t difficult - it shouldn’t require much effort.

▪ The former method takes a bit more effort, but the results are more reliable.

be (well) worth the effort

use this when the energy you use is worth using, because the result is good

▪ Children are hard work, of course, but worth the effort.

▪ The climb is arduous, but well worth the effort, as the views from the top are spectacular.

time and effort

▪ I’ve spent a lot of time and effort getting this far. I’m not giving up now.

▷ labour British /labor American /ˈleɪbəʳ/ [uncountable noun]

hard physical work, such as digging, lifting, or cleaning :

▪ Many women do all the work in the home, and their labour is unpaid.

▪ Marx defined the working class as people who sell their labour to employers.

manual/physical labour

▪ You don’t look as if you could do physical labor.

farm/agricultural labour

▪ rising opportunities in agricultural labor in the North

▷ commitment /kəˈmɪtmənt/ [uncountable noun]

the hard work and loyalty that someone gives to an organization, activity, or piece of work, because they really care about it and believe in it :

▪ Thanks to your energy and commitment, the fundraiser was a great success.

commitment to

▪ Your commitment to the project is very much appreciated by management.

total/absolute/full commitment

▪ He is adamant that he wants total commitment and effort in the build-up to the match.

▪ Lawrence promised full commitment in his drive to make Santa Barbara College the most successful school in the region.

6. unpleasant or boring work

▷ grind /graɪnd/ [singular noun]

things that you have to do every day, especially as part of your job, which are boring and make you feel tired :

grind of

▪ Work feels like such a grind lately.

▪ The relentless grind of hard labour and ill-health had taken its toll on Booth.

the daily grind

▪ The daily grind of meetings and tutorials went on.

hard grind


▪ The Prime Minister is pictured taking a break from the hard grind of political life.

▷ be a slog /biː ə ˈslɒgǁ-ˈslɑːg/ [verb phrase] British

use this to say that work is difficult, boring, and tiring :

▪ The journey across the valley to the farm is going to be a slog.

hard/long slog

▪ It’s a hard slog isn’t it? I wish we’d got further yesterday.

▪ Cutting all the wood before nightfall was a long, hard slog.

▷ donkey work British /grunt work American /ˈdɒŋki wɜːʳkǁˈdɑːŋki-, ˈgrʌnt wɜːʳk/ [uncountable noun] informal

work that is boring or takes a lot of time and effort, but that has to be done as part of a job or larger piece of work :

▪ I was doing grunt work for the secretary in the department, twenty hours a week.

▪ The real donkey work was actually done by those guys.

▷ drudgery /ˈdrʌdʒəri/ [uncountable noun]

work that is hard and unpleasant because it is very boring, takes a long time to do, and often involves a lot of physical effort :

▪ Technological advances have taken much of the drudgery out of the assembly line and car plant.

▪ What seemed a promising job turned into months of boredom and drudgery.

the drudgery of something

▪ The data management system has eliminated much of the drudgery of filing.

▪ Calculators were introduced to relieve students of the drudgery of pencil-and-paper number-crunching.

▷ toil /tɔɪl/ [uncountable noun] formal

difficult and boring work that takes a long time :

▪ Here began their arduous toil to force a living from the land.

▪ man’s desire for freedom from physical toil

7. to do a job that you get paid for

▷ work /wɜːʳk/ [intransitive verb]

▪ I haven’t worked since I had my first child seven years ago.

▪ His illness eventually prevented him from working.

▪ Four teachers agreed to work without pay until things were settled.

work for

▪ For nineteen years, my father worked for the General Electric Corporation.

▪ The company Jack worked for gave him fully paid leave during his wife’s illness.

work in/on/at

▪ I’d never worked in a lab before I came here.

▪ Five mornings a week, she worked on campus.

▪ Over the years, I’d gotten used to all the perks of working at a posh downtown Miami law firm.

work as a consultant/secretary/builder etc

▪ He’s changed his job and is now working as a consultant for a German firm.

▪ Her father was an artist who sometimes worked as a salesman and labourer.

work somewhere

▪ Sorry, Bethany doesn’t work here any more.

▪ Where do you work?

work long hours/Sundays/nights/full-time etc

▪ He only works three days a week now.

▪ There’s always someone in -- I’m working nights so I’m here in the days.

▪ I was working full-time, so I didn’t see much of my girlfriend.

▪ Are you prepared to work longer hours occasionally, to get the work done?

work hard

▪ My staff work hard, and they trust me. That’s important.

▷ be /biː/ [verb]

if someone is a teacher, farmer, doctor etc, that is their job :

▪ ‘What do you do?’ ‘I’m a journalist.’

▪ She was a teacher for over twenty years.

▪ Before becoming a writer, Schwarz had been a cook, a cab driver and a door-to-door salesman.

▷ go into /ˈgəʊ ɪntuː/ [transitive verb]

go into teaching/nursing/politics/journalism etc

to start working as a teacher, nurse etc, because you have decided that this is the job you would like to do :

▪ Janet says she’d like to go into teaching after she finishes college.

▪ Mills was wealthy even before he went into politics.

▪ Snyder went into business for herself as an independent consultant.

▷ practise British /practice American /ˈpræktɪs, ˈpræktəs/ [intransitive/transitive verb]

to work in a professional job as a doctor, lawyer, dentist etc :

▪ Although he is a qualified dentist, he ceased to practice several years ago.

▪ Kingsley has been practising from the London Hydrotherapy Centre since 1960.

practise medicine/law etc

▪ I graduated from Manchester Law school and practised law with the firm of Arthur & Madden of Birmingham.

practise as

▪ A small proportion of those who complete their training do not practise as doctors.

practising [adjective only before noun]

▪ Jenny is a practising psychotherapist.

8. to do work that is not part of your job

▷ work /wɜːʳk/ [intransitive verb]

to do an activity that needs effort and takes time :

▪ I’ve been working all day in the garden.

▪ We had to work non-stop to get the boat ready for the race.

work on

▪ I have to work on the Jeep over the weekend.

▷ do /duː/ [transitive verb]

do the housework/gardening/cleaning etc

to do work that must be done regularly in your home :

▪ I’m always the one who does the cooking and cleaning and stuff around here.

▪ It’s about time the laundry was done.

▪ Hey, the washing-up’s been done. That must have been Cynthia.

9. to be at the place where you work

▷ be at work /biː ət ˈwɜːʳk/ [verb phrase]

to be doing your job at the place where you work, especially at a factory, office etc owned by your employer :

▪ I’m afraid Fran’s not here at the moment -- he’s at work.

▪ What time do you have to be at work?

▪ I’ll tell you, I wish I had these DAT machines at work.

▷ be on duty /biː ɒn ˈdjuːtiǁ-ˈduːti/ [verb phrase]

to be at work in a job where there must always be someone working, for example if you are a nurse or a police officer :

▪ You can’t drink while you’re on duty.

on duty 24 hours/from 6.00 p.m./on Mondays etc

▪ I’m on duty from 8 a.m. on Monday till 12 midday on Thursday.

▪ We’re on duty tonight at half past ten.

▷ on business /ɒn ˈbɪznə̇s/ [adverb]

if someone goes somewhere on business, they go somewhere as part of their job, especially to another city or country :

▪ She drives to Tijuana several times a month on business.

▪ The family was living in the Palace Hotel in Japan because my father was there on business.

▪ Do you travel abroad on business more than three times a year?

be away on business

▪ With her husband frequently away on business, Berenice turns to a close friend for help and support.

▷ be on call /biː ɒn ˈkɔːl/ [verb phrase]

if someone such as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer is on call, they can be telephoned and will work if they are needed :

▪ Doctor Lalor won’t be at the surgery this afternoon, but she’s on call until midnight.

▪ If the machine breaks down at any time, there’s always a technician on call.

▪ Construction managers must be on call to deal with emergencies.

be on call 24 hours a day/3 days a week etc

▪ Resident managers live in hotels and are on call 24 hours a day.

10. a piece of work that you have to do

▷ job /dʒɒbǁdʒɑːb/ [countable noun]

a specific piece of work that you have to do, often one that you are not paid for :

▪ Repairing the roof -- that’s going to be the biggest job.

▪ Cleaning the car’s one of my least favorite jobs.

do a job

▪ Well, I must go now. I’ve lots of jobs to do around the house.

do a good/nice/beautiful etc job

do a job well

▪ I always take my car to York Street garage. They’re expensive, but they do a good job.

▪ Irene did a nice job on those clothes didn’t she?

get on with a job

continue doing a job

▪ He didn’t complain or criticize, he just got on with the job.

odd jobs

jobs of different kinds that are not regular

▪ He does odd jobs for people in his spare time.

the job in/at hand

the job you have to do at the moment

▪ Let’s just concentrate on the job in hand, shall we?

▪ She was upset, and found it difficult to keep her mind on the job at hand.

▷ task /tɑːskǁtæsk/ [countable noun] formal

a piece of work that you have to do - use this especially about a difficult or unpleasant job, or about a specific part of your work :

▪ One of the first tasks Eva set herself was learning the local language.

impossible/difficult/arduous etc task

▪ The UN Peacekeeping Force faces an almost impossible task.

▪ We knew what had to be done, but it wasn’t an easy task.

task of

▪ Recovery crews continued the grim task of retrieving bodies from the wreckage.

face/begin/continue a task

▪ By 2001, we had begun the task of collecting the materials and information needed for the study.

▪ This is one of the most difficult and complex tasks we face.

perform a task/carry out a task

▪ Most of the workers did not have the skills required to perform the most basic tasks.

▪ The massacre was never fully investigated because the police were incapable of carrying out the task.

thankless task

one that no one wants to do because they will get no satisfaction from it

▪ Who on earth would volunteer for such a thankless task?

▷ something to do/some work to do /ˌsʌmθɪŋ tə ˈduː, s ə m ˈwɜːʳk tə duː/ [verb phrase]

a job that you have to do, either for your work or for yourself, especially things that you have to leave your office or house to do :

▪ I’ll pick the laundry up on Saturday -- I have some shopping to do anyway.

▪ I’ve got some work to do this evening.

▷ piece of work /ˌpiːs əv ˈwɜːʳk/ [noun phrase]

something that you have to do, especially something that involves writing or drawing and a lot of thinking :

do/hand in/submit a piece of work

▪ Do you actually fail the year if you don’t hand in a piece of work?

▪ I’ve got a merit for every piece of work I’ve done.

good/excellent etc piece of work

▪ I think this is a very fine piece of work and it deserves a first class mark.

▪ Look at that piece of work and ask yourself the question -- ‘Is this the best I can do?’

▷ assignment /əˈsaɪnmənt/ [countable noun]

a piece of work that someone gives you to do, as part of your job or as part of your studies :

▪ Bart’s first assignment for the newspaper was to report on the French elections.

▪ This is a really tough assignment, and I believe you’re the only person who can handle it.

finish/complete an assignment

▪ She stayed late to complete a class assignment.

history/homework/school/military etc assignment

▪ Robin spent many lunch hours poring over her math assignments.

▪ I eventually got a teaching assignment at Xibei.

one-year/two week etc assignment

▪ ‘I figure this will either make or break us,’ Cheyne said of the 1-year assignment to get the camp up and running.

▷ chore /tʃɔːʳ/ [countable noun]

an unpleasant or boring job, especially one that you have to do regularly in your home :

▪ Washing the kitchen floor was a daily chore, and it was the one I hated most.

▪ When we opened the store, our ambition was to make shopping less of a chore, more of a pleasure.

▪ When I got old enough I started to have chores around the house.

do the/your chores

do all the cleaning etc that needs doing in a home

▪ Michael, come on. Do your chores, bud.

household chores

chores in the home, such as cleaning or cooking

▪ Husbands should be prepared to do their share of the household chores.

▷ errand /ˈerənd/ [countable noun]

a small job that you need to do or that someone has asked you to do, such as buying something, posting something, taking somebody to a place etc :

do/run an errand (for somebody)

▪ Before you disappear, I want you to do an errand for me.

▪ Peter cleaned equipment, ran errands, answered the phone -- it was all routine.

▪ I used to pick up her dry cleaning and run errands for her.

▷ duty /ˈdjuːtiǁˈduːti/ [countable noun usually plural]

something that you have a responsibility to do, especially as a regular part of your job :

▪ For the most part, there was not much to do, other than cleanup duty around the prison camp.

▪ Part of a park ranger’s official duties is to ensure public safety.

▪ clerical and secretarial duties

have a duty to do something


▪ Teachers have a duty to ensure that students are not injured whilst they are in their care.

perform a duty

▪ And now I have a very pleasant duty to perform. I am going to present the prizes to the winning competitors.

tour of duty

a period of time that a soldier or other member of the armed forces spends in a particular place

▪ He recently completed a tour of duty in Seoul as assistant to the US ambassador there.

11. an important piece of work

▷ project /ˈprɒdʒektǁˈprɑː-/ [countable noun]

an important piece of work that an organization, group, or person plans carefully in order to achieve a particular aim over a long period of time :

▪ The federal government will help fund this immense project, which includes the building of 150 day-care centers.

▪ The government scrapped the project after ruling that the costs were too high.

▪ I’ve been working on the Inner City Development Project for the last five years.

educational/construction/research etc project

▪ a joint US--British research project

▪ These are encouraging signs that the ballpark project is moving from blueprint to reality.

▷ mission /ˈmɪʃ ə n/ [countable noun]

an important job that someone is sent to do in another place, especially for a military or political purpose :

▪ He was immediately sent to Paris. His mission was to negotiate a ceasefire.

▪ He volunteered to embark on a dangerous secret mission into occupied France.

▪ a rescue mission to salvage a satellite

combat/military mission

▪ I flew on over 280 combat missions in two wars, so I’m used to danger.

▷ undertaking /ˌʌndəˈteɪkɪŋǁˈʌndərteɪ-/ [countable noun usually singular]

a big or important job, which you decide or agree to do, and which you will be responsible for :

huge/major/big etc undertaking

▪ In the late 1980s, the US embarked on a major undertaking: the human genome project.

▪ Everybody needs to realise that this is a huge undertaking.

▪ Covering an Olympics is an extraordinary undertaking for any television company.

12. to give someone work to do

▷ give /gɪv/ [transitive verb]

if you give someone a job, some work etc, you offer them the job, work etc, or ask them to do it for you :

give somebody something

▪ I asked Joel’s teacher if we should give him some Level 4 work.

▪ We were given some grammar assignments for homework.

give something to somebody

▪ Angie did a really good interview, but they gave the job to someone with more experience.

give somebody something to do/give something to somebody to do

▪ What can I give Helen to do? She’s finished the filing.

▪ OK, you open the parcels. That’ll give you something to do.

▪ ‘Have you peeled the carrots?’ ‘No, I gave them to Dad to do.’

▷ assign /əˈsaɪn/ [transitive verb usually in passive] formal

to give a particular job to a particular person :

be assigned something

▪ You have been assigned the task of keeping the records up to date.

▪ After her promotion took effect, she was assigned a research job.

be assigned to somebody

▪ The job of producing a development program was assigned to the junior minister.

▪ He was asked to assign two of his employees to the inventory control department.

▷ set /set/ [transitive verb] especially British

if a teacher or employer sets you a piece of work, they give it to you to do, and you must finish it by a particular time or date :

set homework/a task/work etc

▪ Mr Harris always sets a lot of homework.

▪ Is that all -- or has she set some other task for you as well?

▪ Anneka was set the huge task by Christian Aid on behalf of a family who fled from war-torn Mozambique.

set somebody something

▪ She set us some work to do in groups.

▪ At the end of the session, they were set a homework task.

▷ commission /kəˈmɪʃ ə n/ [transitive verb]

to appoint someone to do a piece of work for you, for example to write a report or to produce some artistic or scientific work :

▪ The Philadelphia Medical Society commissioned a report on alcoholism.

be commissioned for/by/from etc

▪ His ‘Landscapes’ Symphony was commissioned for the inaugural concert of the Shepherd School.

▪ Seventy-five percent of Americans think that women are more sensual than men, according to a survey commissioned by Revlon.

▪ The Left-Hand Piano Concerto was the first of several works commissioned from distinguished composers.

commission somebody to do something

▪ In 1506, Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II to rebuild St Peter’s church.

▪ The gallery is housed in the new wing, which he commissioned Adams to build 18 years ago.

▷ saddle somebody with also lumber somebody with British informal /ˈsædl somebody wɪð, ˈlʌmbəʳ somebody wɪð/ [transitive phrasal verb]

to give someone an unpleasant or difficult job to do :

be/get saddled with something

▪ Campaign adviser Ken Polaski has been saddled with the job of explaining the recent presidential gaffes.

▪ ‘I’m sorry you’ve been lumbered with running me back home,’ said Ashley stiffly.

saddle something with something

▪ The Hong Kong Rugby Union has saddled Simpkin with the post of national coach to the ailing team.

Longman Activator English vocab.      Английский словарь Longman активатор .