What does work mean?

Definitions for work

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word work.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. work(noun)

    activity directed toward making or doing something

    "she checked several points needing further work"

  2. work, piece of work(noun)

    a product produced or accomplished through the effort or activity or agency of a person or thing

    "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. employment, work(noun)

    the occupation for which you are paid

    "he is looking for employment"; "a lot of people are out of work"

  4. study, work(noun)

    applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject (especially by reading)

    "mastering a second language requires a lot of work"; "no schools offer graduate study in interior design"

  5. work(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. workplace, work(noun)

    a place where work is done

    "he arrived at work early today"

  7. oeuvre, work, body of work(verb)

    the total output of a writer or artist (or a substantial part of it)

    "he studied the entire Wagnerian oeuvre"; "Picasso's work can be divided into periods"

  8. work(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. work, do work(verb)

    be employed

    "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. work, act(verb)

    have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected

    "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. function, work, operate, go, run(verb)

    perform as expected when applied

    "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. work, work on, process(verb)

    shape, form, or improve a material

    "work stone into tools"; "process iron"; "work the metal"

  13. exercise, work, work out(verb)

    give a workout to

    "Some parents exercise their infants"; "My personal trainer works me hard"; "work one's muscles"; "this puzzle will exercise your mind"

  14. make, work(verb)

    proceed along a path

    "work one's way through the crowd"; "make one's way into the forest"

  15. work(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. work(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. work(verb)

    move in an agitated manner

    "His fingers worked with tension"

  18. bring, work, play, wreak, make for(verb)

    cause to happen or to occur as a consequence

    "I cannot work a miracle"; "wreak havoc"; "bring comments"; "play a joke"; "The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area"

  19. work, put to work(verb)

    cause to work

    "he is working his servants hard"

  20. cultivate, crop, work(verb)

    prepare for crops

    "Work the soil"; "cultivate the land"

  21. work(verb)

    behave in a certain way when handled

    "This dough does not work easily"; "The soft metal works well"

  22. influence, act upon, work(verb)

    have and exert influence or effect

    "The artist's work influenced the young painter"; "She worked on her friends to support the political candidate"

  23. work(verb)

    operate in or through

    "Work the phones"

  24. work(verb)

    cause to operate or function

    "This pilot works the controls"; "Can you work an electric drill?"

  25. work(verb)

    provoke or excite

    "The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy"

  26. work(verb)

    gratify and charm, usually in order to influence

    "the political candidate worked the crowds"

  27. shape, form, work, mold, mould, forge(verb)

    make something, usually for a specific function

    "She molded the rice balls carefully"; "Form cylinders from the dough"; "shape a figure"; "Work the metal into a sword"

  28. work(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. knead, work(verb)

    make uniform

    "knead dough"; "work the clay until it is soft"

  30. exploit, work(verb)

    use or manipulate to one's advantage

    "He exploit the new taxation system"; "She knows how to work the system"; "he works his parents for sympathy"

  31. solve, work out, figure out, puzzle out, lick, work(verb)

    find the solution to (a problem or question) or understand the meaning of

    "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. ferment, work(verb)

    cause to undergo fermentation

    "We ferment the grapes for a very long time to achieve high alcohol content"; "The vintner worked the wine in big oak vats"

  33. sour, turn, ferment, work(verb)

    go sour or spoil

    "The milk has soured"; "The wine worked"; "The cream has turned--we have to throw it out"

  34. work(verb)

    arrive at a certain condition through repeated motion

    "The stitches of the hem worked loose after she wore the skirt many times"


  1. work(Noun)

    Plural form of workman.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Work(noun)

    exertion of strength or faculties; physical or intellectual effort directed to an end; industrial activity; toil; employment; sometimes, specifically, physically labor

  2. Work(noun)

    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

  3. Work(noun)

    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

  4. Work(noun)

    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

  5. Work(noun)

    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

  6. Work(noun)

    the moving parts of a mechanism; as, the works of a watch

  7. Work(noun)

    manner of working; management; treatment; as, unskillful work spoiled the effect

  8. Work(noun)

    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

  9. Work(noun)

    ore before it is dressed

  10. Work(noun)

    performance of moral duties; righteous conduct

  11. Work(noun)

    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

  12. Work(noun)

    hence, in a general sense, to operate; to act; to perform; as, a machine works well

  13. Work(noun)

    hence, figuratively, to be effective; to have effect or influence; to conduce

  14. Work(noun)

    to carry on business; to be engaged or employed customarily; to perform the part of a laborer; to labor; to toil

  15. Work(noun)

    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

  16. Work(noun)

    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

  17. Work(noun)

    to ferment, as a liquid

  18. Work(noun)

    to act or operate on the stomach and bowels, as a cathartic

  19. Work(verb)

    to labor or operate upon; to give exertion and effort to; to prepare for use, or to utilize, by labor

  20. Work(verb)

    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

  21. Work(verb)

    to produce by slow degrees, or as if laboriously; to bring gradually into any state by action or motion

  22. Work(verb)

    to influence by acting upon; to prevail upon; to manage; to lead

  23. Work(verb)

    to form with a needle and thread or yarn; especially, to embroider; as, to work muslin

  24. Work(verb)

    to set in motion or action; to direct the action of; to keep at work; to govern; to manage; as, to work a machine

  25. Work(verb)

    to cause to ferment, as liquor

  26. Origin: [OE. work, werk, weorc, AS. weorc, worc; akin to OFries. werk, wirk, OS., D., & G. werk, OHG. werc, werah, Icel. & Sw. verk, Dan. vrk, Goth. gawarki, Gr. 'e`rgon, e`rgon, work, "re`zein to do, 'o`rganon an instrument, 'o`rgia secret rites, Zend verez to work. 145. Cf. Bulwark, Energy, Erg, Georgic, Liturgy, Metallurgy, Organ, Orgy, Surgeon, Wright.]


  1. Work

    In physics, a force is said to do work when it acts on a body so that there is a displacement of the point of application, however small, in the direction of the force. Thus a force does work when it results in movement. The term work was introduced in 1826 by the French mathematician Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis as "weight lifted through a height", which is based on the use of early steam engines to lift buckets of water out of flooded ore mines. The SI unit of work is the newton-metre or joule. The work done by a constant force of magnitude F on a point that moves a displacement d in the direction of the force is the product, For example, if a force of 10 newton acts along point that travels 2 metres, then it does the work W = = 20 N m = 20 J. This is approximately the work done lifting a 1 kg weight from ground to over a person's head against the force of gravity. Notice that the work is doubled either by lifting twice the weight the same distance or by lifting the same weight twice the distance.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Work

    wurk, n. effort directed to an end: employment: the result of work: that on which one works: anything made or done: embroidery: deed: effect: a literary composition: a book: management: an establishment for any manufacture, a factory (gener. in pl.): (physics) the product of a force by the component displacement of its point and application in the direction of the force: (pl.), (fort.) walls, trenches, &c.: (theol.) acts performed in obedience to the Divine law: a manufactory, workshop, place of work (esp. in pl.): mechanism—e.g. of a watch.—v.i. to make efforts to attain anything: to perform: to be in action: to be occupied in business or labour: to produce effects, to make progress with difficulty, to strain or labour: to ferment: to be agitated, to seethe: to embroider.—v.t. to make by labour: to bring into any state by action: to effect: to carry on operations in: to put in motion: to purge: to influence: to manage: to solve: to achieve: to cause to ferment: to provoke, agitate: to keep employed: to embroider:—pa.t. and pa.p. worked or wrought (rawt).—ns. Workabil′ity, Work′ableness.—adjs. Work′able, that may be worked; Work′aday, work-day, toiling, plodding.—ns. Work′-bag, -bas′ket, a bag, basket, for holding materials for work, esp. needlework; Work′-box, a lady's box for holding materials for work; Work′-day, a day for work: a week-day.—adj. pertaining to a work-day.—ns. Work′er, a toiler, performer: among insects, the neuter or undeveloped female; Work′-fell′ow, one who is engaged in the same work with another.—ns.pl. Work′folk, Work′folks, persons engaged in manual labour.—adj. Work′ful, industrious.—ns. Work′girl, a girl or young woman employed in some manual labour; Work′house, a house where any work or manufacture is carried on: a house of shelter for the poor, who are made to work; Work′ing, action, operation: fermentation: (pl.) the parts of a mine, &c., where actual operations are in hand.—adj. active: labouring: connected with labour.—ns. Work′ing-beam, the oscillating lever of a steam-engine connecting the piston-rod and the crank-shaft, a walking-beam; Work′ing-class, manual labourers (often in pl.); Wor′king-day, a day on which work is done, as distinguished from the Sabbath and holidays: the period of actual work each day.—adj. laborious: plodding.—ns. Work′ing-draw′ing, a drawing of the details of a building by which the builders are guided in their work; Work′ing-house (Shak.), workshop; Work′ing-par′ty, a group of persons who do some work in common, or who meet periodically for such a purpose; Work′man, Work′ing-man, a man who works or labours, esp. manually: a skilful artificer.—adjs. Work′man-like, like a workman: becoming a skilful workman: well performed; Work&pr

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. work

    1. That which keeps us out of trouble. 2. A plan of God to circumvent the Devil.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Work

    Productive or purposeful activities.

The Standard Electrical Dictionary

  1. Work

    When a force acts upon a body and the body moves in the direction of the force, the force does work. Hence, work is the action of a force through space against resistance. It is generally expressed in compound units of length and weight, as foot-pounds, meaning a pound raised one foot.

Editors Contribution

  1. work

    Paid employment or self-employment.

    The work we do effects our perception of life.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 25, 2020  
  2. work

    The transfer of energy from one system to another.

    In physics work is expressed in units called Joules.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 25, 2020  
  3. work

    To function as it was created or designed for.

    The computers do work every day and make life so much easier.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 25, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. work

    The work symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the work symbol and its characteristic.

  2. WORK

    What does WORK stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the WORK acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'work' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #127

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'work' in Written Corpus Frequency: #196

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'work' in Nouns Frequency: #11

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'work' in Verbs Frequency: #30

How to pronounce work?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say work in sign language?

  1. work


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of work in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of work in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of work in a Sentence

  1. Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    Work is victory.

  2. Wilhen Hill Barrientos:

    If I didn't work.

  3. Don Blankenship:

    It didn't work out.

  4. State Fire Marshal via AP:

    Was that your work?

  5. The Taliban:

    It wasn't our work.

Images & Illustrations of work

  1. workworkworkworkwork

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for work

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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