I. task 1 S2 W1 /tɑːsk $ tæsk/ BrE AmE noun
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old North French ; Origin: tasque , from Medieval Latin tasca 'tax or service to be done for a ruler' , from taxare 'to tax' ]
1 . [countable] a piece of work that must be done, especially one that is difficult or unpleasant or that must be done regularly SYN job
The task of the union representative is to fight on behalf of the members.
Sara had the task of preparing the agenda for meetings.
I was given the task of building a fire.
the skills required to carry out these tasks
He soon realized the scale of the task he had undertaken.
Our first task is to gather information.
Monkeys can be taught to do simple tasks.
They have the unenviable task of supervising the most dangerous prison in the country.
Volunteers had the thankless task of distributing campaign leaflets.
Trying to bring up a small daughter on your own is no easy task.
In everyday English, people usually say job rather than task :
I was given the job of building the fire.
2 . take someone to task to strongly criticize somebody for something they have done
take someone to task for
He was taken to task for not reporting the problem earlier.
• • •
▪ have the task of doing something
He had the task of judging the competition.
▪ carry out/perform/do a task
I don't think we have enough resources to carry out this task.
▪ set/give somebody a task
I was given the task of writing the chairman's speech.
▪ take on/undertake a task
No-one else is willing to take on the task.
▪ assign a task (=give someone a task to do)
People were assigned different tasks.
▪ a task faces somebody
Given the nature of the task facing us, three days might not be enough.
She may argue that the task is impossible.
The children help with simple tasks like carrying in water or logs for the fire.
The task of selecting just five candidates is difficult.
▪ somebody's first/main task
Their first task was to rebuild the wall.
▪ a thankless task (=a difficult but necessary job)
Driving a bus in London must be a pretty thankless task.
▪ a formidable/daunting task (=very difficult)
Achieving these targets will be a formidable task.
▪ an unenviable task (=unpleasant or difficult)
He has the unenviable task of telling hungry people that there is no food.
▪ an arduous task (=needing a lot of effort and hard work)
We began the arduous task of carrying the furniture to the top floor.
▪ something is not an easy task something is no easy task (=something is difficult)
Recruiting experienced people is no easy task nowadays.
II. task 2 AC BrE AmE verb [transitive usually passive]
to give someone the responsibility for doing something
be tasked with (doing) something
We were tasked with completing the job by the end of 2006.