Meaning of WORK in English


I. ˈwərk noun

Etymology: Middle English werk, work, from Old English werc, weorc; akin to Old High German werc work, Greek ergon, Avestan varəzem activity

Date: before 12th century

1. : activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something:

a. : sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result

b. : the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood

c. : a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity


a. : energy expended by natural phenomena

b. : the result of such energy

sand dunes are the work of sea and wind

c. : the transference of energy that is produced by the motion of the point of application of a force and is measured by multiplying the force and the displacement of its point of application in the line of action


a. : something that results from a particular manner or method of working, operating, or devising

careful police work

clever camera work

b. : something that results from the use or fashioning of a particular material

porcelain work


a. : a fortified structure (as a fort, earthen barricade, or trench)

b. plural : structures in engineering (as docks, bridges, or embankments) or mining (as shafts or tunnels)

5. plural but singular or plural in construction : a place where industrial labor is carried on : plant , factory

6. plural : the working or moving parts of a mechanism

the work s of a clock


a. : something produced or accomplished by effort, exertion, or exercise of skill

this book is the work of many hands

b. : something produced by the exercise of creative talent or expenditure of creative effort : artistic production

an early work by a major writer

8. plural : performance of moral or religious acts

salvation by work s


a. : effective operation : effect , result

wait for time to do its healing work

b. : manner of working : workmanship , execution

10. : the material or piece of material that is operated upon at any stage in the process of manufacture

11. plural

a. : everything possessed, available, or belonging

the whole work s, rod, reel, tackle box, went overboard

ordered pizza with the work s

b. : subjection to drastic treatment : all possible abuse — usually used with get

get the work s

or give

gave them the work s

- at work

- in the works

- in work

- out of work


work , labor , travail , toil , drudgery , grind 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

labor applies to physical or intellectual work involving great and often strenuous exertion

farmers demanding fair compensation for their labor

travail is bookish for labor involving pain or suffering

years of travail were lost when the house burned

toil implies prolonged and fatiguing labor

his lot would be years of back-breaking toil

drudgery suggests dull and irksome labor

an editorial job with a good deal of drudgery

grind implies labor exhausting to mind or body

the grind of the assembly line


work , employment , occupation , calling , pursuit , métier , business mean a specific sustained activity engaged in especially in earning one's living. work may apply to any purposeful activity whether remunerative or not

her work as a hospital volunteer

employment implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer

your employment with this firm is hereby terminated

occupation implies work in which one engages regularly especially as a result of training

his occupation as a trained auto mechanic

calling applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession

the ministry seemed my true calling

pursuit suggests a trade, profession, or avocation followed with zeal or steady interest

her family considered medicine the only proper pursuit

métier implies a calling or pursuit for which one believes oneself to be especially fitted

acting was my one and only métier

business suggests activity in commerce or the management of money and affairs

the business of managing a hotel

II. adjective

Date: 14th century

1. : used for work

a work elephant

2. : suitable or styled for wear while working

work clothes

3. : involving or engaged in work

a work gang

work hours

III. verb

( worked ˈwərkt ; or wrought ˈrȯt ; work·ing )

Etymology: Middle English werken, worken, from Old English wyrcan; akin to Old English weorc

Date: before 12th century

transitive verb

1. : to bring to pass : effect

work miracles


a. : to fashion or create a useful or desired product by expending labor or exertion on : forge , shape

work flint into tools

b. : to make or decorate with needlework ; especially : embroider


a. : to prepare for use by stirring or kneading

b. : to bring into a desired form by a gradual process of cutting, hammering, scraping, pressing, or stretching

work cold steel

4. : to set or keep in motion, operation, or activity : cause to operate or produce

a pump work ed by hand

work farmland

5. : to solve (a problem) by reasoning or calculation — often used with out


a. : to cause to toil or labor

work ed their horses nearly to death

b. : to make use of : exploit

c. : to control or guide the operation of

switches are work ed from a central tower


a. : to carry on an operation or perform a job through, at, in, or along

the salespeople work ed both sides of the street

a sportscaster hired to work the game

b. : to greet and talk with in a friendly way in order to ingratiate oneself or achieve a purpose

politicians work ing the crowd

work ed the room

8. : to pay for or achieve with labor or service

work ed my way through college

work ed my way up in the company


a. : to get (oneself or an object) into or out of a condition or position by gradual stages

b. : contrive , arrange

we can work it so that you can take your vacation


a. : to practice trickery or cajolery on for some end

work ed the management for a free ticket

b. : excite , provoke

work ed myself into a rage

intransitive verb


a. : to exert oneself physically or mentally especially in sustained effort for a purpose or under compulsion or necessity

b. : to perform or carry through a task requiring sustained effort or continuous repeated operations

work ed all day over a hot stove

c. : to perform work or fulfill duties regularly for wages or salary

work s in publishing

2. : to function or operate according to plan or design

hinges work better with oil

3. : to exert an influence or tendency

4. : to produce a desired effect or result : succeed

a plan that will work


a. : to make way slowly and with difficulty : move or progress laboriously

work ed up to the presidency

b. : to sail to windward

6. : to permit of being worked : react in a specified way to being worked

this wood work s easily


a. : to be in agitation or restless motion

b. : ferment 1

c. : to move slightly in relation to another part

d. : to get into a specified condition by slow or imperceptible movements

the knot work ed loose

- work on

- work upon

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.