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work Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun activity directed toward making or doing something
    • she checked several points needing further work
  2. noun a product produced or accomplished through the effort or activity or agency of a person or thing
    piece of work.
    • it is not regarded as one of his more memorable works
    • the symphony was hailed as an ingenious work
    • he was indebted to the pioneering work of John Dewey
    • the work of an active imagination
    • erosion is the work of wind or water over time
  3. noun the occupation for which you are paid
    employment.
    • he is looking for employment
    • a lot of people are out of work
  4. noun applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject (especially by reading)
    study.
    • mastering a second language requires a lot of work
    • no schools offer graduate study in interior design
  5. noun (physics) a manifestation of energy; the transfer of energy from one physical system to another expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which it moves a body in the direction of that force
    • work equals force times distance
  6. noun a place where work is done
    workplace.
    • he arrived at work early today
  7. noun the total output of a writer or artist (or a substantial part of it)
    oeuvre; body of work.
    • he studied the entire Wagnerian oeuvre
    • Picasso's work can be divided into periods
  8. verb exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity
    • I will work hard to improve my grades
    • she worked hard for better living conditions for the poor
  9. verb be employed
    do work.
    • Is your husband working again?
    • My wife never worked
    • Do you want to work after the age of 60?
    • She never did any work because she inherited a lot of money
    • She works as a waitress to put herself through college
  10. verb have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected
    act.
    • The voting process doesn't work as well as people thought
    • How does your idea work in practice?
    • This method doesn't work
    • The breaks of my new car act quickly
    • The medicine works only if you take it with a lot of water
  11. verb perform as expected when applied
    function; go; run; operate.
    • The washing machine won't go unless it's plugged in
    • Does this old car still run well?
    • This old radio doesn't work anymore
  12. verb shape, form, or improve a material
    process; work on.
    • work stone into tools
    • process iron
    • work the metal
  13. verb give a workout to
    work out; exercise.
    • Some parents exercise their infants
    • My personal trainer works me hard
    • work one's muscles
    • this puzzle will exercise your mind
  14. verb proceed along a path
    make.
    • work one's way through the crowd
    • make one's way into the forest
  15. verb operate in a certain place, area, or specialty
    • She works the night clubs
    • The salesman works the Midwest
    • This artist works mostly in acrylics
  16. verb proceed towards a goal or along a path or through an activity
    • work your way through every problem or task
    • She was working on her second martini when the guests arrived
    • Start from the bottom and work towards the top
  17. verb move in an agitated manner
    • His fingers worked with tension
  18. verb cause to happen or to occur as a consequence
    bring; play; wreak; make for.
    • I cannot work a miracle
    • wreak havoc
    • bring comments
    • play a joke
    • The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area
  19. verb cause to work
    put to work.
    • he is working his servants hard
  20. verb prepare for crops
    cultivate; crop.
    • Work the soil
    • cultivate the land
  21. verb behave in a certain way when handled
    • This dough does not work easily
    • The soft metal works well
  22. verb have and exert influence or effect
    influence; act upon.
    • The artist's work influenced the young painter
    • She worked on her friends to support the political candidate
  23. verb operate in or through
    • Work the phones
  24. verb cause to operate or function
    • This pilot works the controls
    • Can you work an electric drill?
  25. verb provoke or excite
    • The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy
  26. verb gratify and charm, usually in order to influence
    • the political candidate worked the crowds
  27. verb make something, usually for a specific function
    mould; form; shape; forge; mold.
    • She molded the rice balls carefully
    • Form cylinders from the dough
    • shape a figure
    • Work the metal into a sword
  28. verb move into or onto
    • work the raisins into the dough
    • the student worked a few jokes into his presentation
    • work the body onto the flatbed truck
  29. verb make uniform
    knead.
    • knead dough
    • work the clay until it is soft
  30. verb use or manipulate to one's advantage
    exploit.
    • He exploit the new taxation system
    • She knows how to work the system
    • he works his parents for sympathy
  31. verb find the solution to (a problem or question) or understand the meaning of
    lick; work out; puzzle out; solve; figure out.
    • did you solve the problem?
    • Work out your problems with the boss
    • this unpleasant situation isn't going to work itself out
    • did you get it?
    • Did you get my meaning?
    • He could not work the math problem
  32. verb cause to undergo fermentation
    ferment.
    • We ferment the grapes for a very long time to achieve high alcohol content
    • The vintner worked the wine in big oak vats
  33. verb go sour or spoil
    ferment; turn; sour.
    • The milk has soured
    • The wine worked
    • The cream has turned--we have to throw it out
  34. verb arrive at a certain condition through repeated motion
    • The stitches of the hem worked loose after she wore the skirt many times
WordNet

Work noun
Etymology
OE. work, werk, weork, AS. weorc, worc; akin to OFries. werk, wirk, OS., D., & G. werk, OHG. werc, werah, Icel. & Sw. verk, Dan. værk, Goth. gawaúrki, Gr. , , work, to do, an instrument, secret rites, Zend verez to work. . Cf. Bulwark, Energy, Erg, Georgic, Liturgy, Metallurgy, Organ, Surgeon, Wright.
Definitions
  1. Exertion of strength or faculties; physical or intellectual effort directed to an end; industrial activity; toil; employment; sometimes, specifically, physically labor.
    Man hath his daily work of body or mind Appointed. Milton.
  2. The matter on which one is at work; that upon which one spends labor; material for working upon; subject of exertion; the thing occupying one; business; duty; as, to take up one's work; to drop one's work.
    Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand That you yet know not of. Shak.
    In every work that he began . . . he did it with all his heart, and prospered. 2 Chron. xxxi. 21.
  3. That which is produced as the result of labor; anything accomplished by exertion or toil; product; performance; fabric; manufacture; in a more general sense, act, deed, service, effect, result, achievement, feat.
    To leave no rubs or blotches in the work. Shak.
    The work some praise, And some the architect. Milton.
    Fancy . . . Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams. Milton.
    The composition or dissolution of mixed bodies . . . is the chief work of elements. Sir K. Digby.
  4. Specifically: (a) That which is produced by mental labor; a composition; a book; as, a work, or the works, of Addison. (b) Flowers, figures, or the like, wrought with the needle; embroidery.
    I am glad I have found this napkin; . . . I'll have the work ta'en out, And give 't Iago. Shak.
    (c) pl. Structures in civil, military, or naval engineering, as docks, bridges, embankments, trenches, fortifications, and the like; also, the structures and grounds of a manufacturing establishment; as, iron works; locomotive works; gas works. (d) pl. The moving parts of a mechanism; as, the works of a watch.
  5. Manner of working; management; treatment; as, unskillful work spoiled the effect. Bp. Stillingfleet.
  6. (Mech.) The causing of motion against a resisting force. The amount of work is proportioned to, and is measured by, the product of the force into the amount of motion along the direction of the force. See Conservation of energy, under Conservation, Unit of work, under Unit, also Foot pound, Horse power, Poundal, and Erg.
    Energy is the capacity of doing work . . . Work is the transference of energy from one system to another. Clerk Maxwell.
  7. (Mining) Ore before it is dressed. Raymond.
  8. pl. (Script.) Performance of moral duties; righteous conduct.
    He shall reward every man according to his works. Matt. xvi. 27.
    Faith, if it hath not works, is dead. James ii. 17.
Work intransitive verb
Etymology
AS. wyrcean (imp. worthe, wrohte, p. p. geworht, gewroht); akin to OFries. werka, wirka, OS. wirkian, D. werken, G. wirken, Icel. verka, yrkja, orka, Goth. waúrkjan. *145. See Work, n.
Wordforms
imperfect & past participle Worked or Wrought ; present participle & verbal noun Working
Definitions
  1. To exert one's self for a purpose; to put forth effort for the attainment of an object; to labor; to be engaged in the performance of a task, a duty, or the like.
    O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work, To match thy goodness? Shak.
    Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you. Ex. v. 18.
    Whether we work or play, or sleep or wake, Our life doth pass. Sir J. Davies.
  2. Hence, in a general sense, to operate; to act; to perform; as, a machine works well.
    We bend to that the working of the heart. Shak.
  3. Hence, figuratively, to be effective; to have effect or influence; to conduce.
    We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. Rom. viii. 28.
    This so wrought upon the child, that afterwards he desired to be taught. Locke.
    She marveled how she could ever have been wrought upon to marry him. Hawthorne.
  4. To carry on business; to be engaged or employed customarily; to perform the part of a laborer; to labor; to toil.
    They that work in fine flax . . . shall be confounded. Isa. xix. 9.
  5. To be in a state of severe exertion, or as if in such a state; to be tossed or agitated; to move heavily; to strain; to labor; as, a ship works in a heavy sea.
    Confused with working sands and rolling waves. Addison.
  6. To make one's way slowly and with difficulty; to move or penetrate laboriously; to proceed with effort; -- with a following preposition, as down, out, into, up, through, and the like; as, scheme works out by degrees; to work into the earth.
    Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportioned to each kind. Milton.
  7. To ferment, as a liquid.
    The working of beer when the barm is put in. Bacon.
  8. To act or operate on the stomach and bowels, as a cathartic.
    Purges . . . work best, that is, cause the blood so to do, . . . in warm weather or in a warm room. Grew.
Work transitive verb
Definitions
  1. To labor or operate upon; to give exertion and effort to; to prepare for use, or to utilize, by labor.
    He could have told them of two or three gold mines, and a silver mine, and given the reason why they forbare to work them at that time. Sir W. Raleigh.
  2. To produce or form by labor; to bring forth by exertion or toil; to accomplish; to originate; to effect; as, to work wood or iron into a form desired, or into a utensil; to work cotton or wool into cloth.
    Each herb he knew, that works or good or ill. Harte.
  3. To produce by slow degrees, or as if laboriously; to bring gradually into any state by action or motion. "Sidelong he works his way." Milton.
    So the pure, limpid stream, when foul with stains Of rushing torrents and descending rains, Works itself clear, and as it runs, refines, Till by degrees the floating mirror shines. Addison.
  4. To influence by acting upon; to prevail upon; to manage; to lead. "Work your royal father to his ruin." Philips.
  5. To form with a needle and thread or yarn; especially, to embroider; as, to work muslin.
  6. To set in motion or action; to direct the action of; to keep at work; to govern; to manage; as, to work a machine.
    Knowledge in building and working ships. Arbuthnot.
    Now, Marcus, thy virtue's the proof; Put forth thy utmost strength, work every nerve. Addison.
    The mariners all 'gan work the ropes, Where they were wont to do. Coleridge.
  7. To cause to ferment, as liquor.

Webster 1913


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