/ wɜːk; NAmE wɜːrk/ verb , noun
DO JOB / TASK
work (at / on sth) to do sth that involves physical or mental effort, especially as part of a job :
[ v ]
I can't work if I'm cold.
I've been working at my assignment all day.
He is working on a new novel.
She's outside, working on the car.
[ vn ]
Doctors often work very long hours.
[ v ] work (for sb/sth) | work (as sth) to have a job :
Both my parents work.
She works for an engineering company.
I've always worked in education.
Do you enjoy working with children?
My son is working as a teacher.
[ vn ] to make yourself/sb work, especially very hard :
She works herself too hard.
work (for sth) to make efforts to achieve sth :
[ v ]
She dedicated her life to working for peace.
[ v to inf ]
The committee is working to get the prisoners freed.
[ vn ] to manage or operate sth to gain benefit from it :
to work the land (= grow crops on it, etc.)
He works a large area (= selling a company's goods, etc.) .
( figurative )
She was a skilful speaker who knew how to work a crowd (= to excite them or make them feel sth strongly) .
MACHINE / DEVICE
[ v ] to function; to operate :
The phone isn't working.
It works by electricity.
Are they any closer to understanding how the brain works?
[ vn ] to make a machine, device, etc. operate :
Do you know how to work the coffee machine?
The machine is worked by wind power.
HAVE RESULT / EFFECT
[ v ] work (on sb/sth) to have the result or effect that you want :
The pills the doctor gave me aren't working.
My plan worked, and I got them to agree.
His charm doesn't work on me (= does not affect or impress me) .
[ v + adv. / prep. ] to have a particular effect :
Your age can work against you in this job.
Speaking Italian should work in his favour.
[ vn ] to cause or produce sth as a result of effort :
You can work miracles with very little money if you follow our home decoration tips.
[ vn ] work sth (into sth) to make a material into a particular shape or form by pressing, stretching, hitting it, etc. :
to work clay
to work gold
to work the mixture into a paste
[ v ] work (in / with sth) ( of an artist, etc. ) to use a particular material to produce a picture or other item :
an artist working in oils
a craftsman working with wool
OF PART OF FACE / BODY
[ v ] ( formal ) to move violently :
He stared at me in horror, his mouth working.
to move or pass to a particular place or state, usually gradually :
[ v ]
It will take a while for the drug to work out of your system.
[ vn ] ( figurative )
He worked his way to the top of his profession.
[ vn - adj ]
I was tied up, but managed to work myself free.
[ v - adj ]
The screw had worked loose .
Most idioms containing work are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example work your fingers to the bone is at finger .
- work it / things
- work around / round to sth/sb
- work at sth
- work sth in | work sth into sth
- work sth off
- work on sb
- work on sth
- work out
- work out (at sth)
- work sb out
- work sth out
- work sb over
- work to sth
- work towards sth
- work sth up
- work sb / yourself up (into sth)
- work sth up into sth
- work up to sth
JOB / TASK
[ U ] the job that a person does especially in order to earn money
SYN employment :
She had been out of work (= without a job) for a year.
( BrE )
They are in work (= have a job) .
He started work as a security guard.
It is difficult to find work in the present economic climate.
I'm still looking for work.
She's planning to return to work once the children start school.
What line of work are you in (= what type of work do you do) ?
before / after work (= in the morning / evening each day)
full-time / part-time / unpaid / voluntary work
[ U ] the duties that you have and the activities that you do as part of your job :
Police work is mainly routine.
The accountant described his work to the sales staff.
—see also piecework , social work
[ U ] tasks that need to be done :
There is plenty of work to be done in the garden.
Taking care of a baby is hard work .
I have some work for you to do.
Stop talking and get on with your work.
—see also homework , schoolwork
[ U ] materials needed or used for doing work, especially books, papers, etc. :
She often brings work (= for example, files and documents) home with her from the office.
His work was spread all over the floor.
—see also paperwork
PLACE OF JOB
[ U ] (used without the ) the place where you do your job :
I go to work at 8 o'clock.
When do you leave for work ?
The new legislation concerns health and safety at work .
I have to leave work early today.
Her friends from work came to see her in the hospital.
[ U ] the use of physical strength or mental power in order to do or make sth :
She earned her grades through sheer hard work .
We started work on the project in 2002.
Work continues on renovating the hotel.
The work of building the bridge took six months.
The art collection was his life's work .
She set them to work painting the fence.
—see also donkey work , fieldwork
PRODUCT OF WORK
[ U ] a thing or things that are produced as a result of work :
She's an artist whose work I really admire.
Is this all your own work (= did you do it without help from others) ?
The book is a detailed and thorough piece of work covering all aspects of the subject.
RESULT OF ACTION
[ U ] the result of an action; what is done by sb :
The damage is clearly the work of vandals.
BOOK / MUSIC / ART
[ C ] a book, piece of music, painting, etc. :
the collected / complete works of Tolstoy
works of fiction / literature
Beethoven's piano works
—see also work of art
BUILDING / REPAIRING
works [ pl. ] (often in compounds) activities involving building or repairing sth :
They expanded the shipyards and started engineering works.
—see also public works
works ( pl. works ) [ C +sing./pl. v . ] (often in compounds) a place where things are made or industrial processes take place :
an engineering works
➡ note at factory
PARTS OF MACHINE
the works [ pl. ] the moving parts of a machine, etc.
the works [ pl. ] ( informal ) everything :
We went to the chip shop and had the works: fish, chips, gherkins, mushy peas.
[ U ] the use of force to produce movement
—see also joule
- all work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy)
- at work
- get (down) to / set to work
- give sb the works
- good works
- go / set about your work
- have your work cut out
- in the works
- the work of a moment, second, etc.
—more at day , devil , dirty adjective , hand noun , hard adjective , job , light adjective , nasty , nice , short adjective , spanner
employment ♦ career ♦ profession ♦ occupation ♦ trade
These are all words for the work that sb does in return for payment, especially over a long period of time.
the job that sb does, especially in order to earn money:
It's very difficult to find work at the moment.
( rather formal ) work, especially when it is done to earn money; the state of being employed or the situation in which people have work:
Only half the people here are in paid employment.
the job or series of jobs that sb has in a particular area of work, usually involving more responsibility as time passes:
He had a very distinguished career in the Foreign Office.
a type of job that needs special training or skill, especially one that needs a high level of education:
He hopes to enter the medical profession.
The profession is all the people who work in a particular profession:
the legal profession
. The professions are the traditional jobs that need a high level of education and training, such as being a doctor or lawyer.
( rather formal ) a job or profession:
Please state your name, age, and occupation.
a job, especially one that involves working with your hands and requires special training and skills:
Carpentry is a highly skilled trade.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS :
in / out of work / employment
(a) full-time / part-time work / employment / career / profession / occupation
permanent / temporary work / employment
(a) well-paid / low-paid work / employment / profession / occupation
(a) paid / salaried / freelance / voluntary work / employment / occupation
(a / an / the) medical / legal / acting / teaching work / career / profession
to look for / seek / find work / employment / a career / an occupation
to get / obtain / give sb / offer sb / create / generate / provide work / employment
Old English weorc (noun), wyrcan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch werk and German Werk , from an Indo-European root shared by Greek ergon .