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activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: a : sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve

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1. Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.

2.

a. A job; employment: looking for work.

b. A trade, profession, or other means of livelihood.

3.

a. Something that one is doing, making, or performing, especially as an occupation or undertaking; a duty or task: begin the day’s work.

b. An amount of such activity either done or required: a week’s work.

4.

a. The part of a day devoted to an occupation or undertaking: met her after work.

b. One’s place of employment: Should I call you at home or at work?

5.

a. Something that has been produced or accomplished through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing: This story is the work of an active imagination. Erosion is the work of wind, water, and time.

b. Full action or effect of an agency: The sleeping pills did their work.

c. An act; a deed: “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

6.

a. An artistic creation, such as a painting, sculpture, or literary or musical composition; a work of art.

b. works The output of a writer, artist, or musician considered or collected as a whole: the works of Shakespeare.

7.

a. works Engineering structures, such as bridges or dams.

b. A fortified structure, such as a trench or fortress.

8.

a. Needlework, weaving, lacemaking, or a similar textile art.

b. A piece of such textile art.

9. A material or piece of material being processed in a machine during manufacture: work to be turned in the lathe.

10. works (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A factory, plant, or similar building or complex of buildings where a specific type of business or industry is carried on. Often used in combination: a steelworks.

11. works Internal mechanism: the works of a watch.

12. The manner, style, or quality of working or treatment; workmanship.

13. Abbr. w Physics The transfer of energy from one physical system to another, especially the transfer of energy to a body by the application of a force that moves the body in the direction of the force. It is calculated as the product of the force and the distance through which the body moves and is expressed in joules, ergs, and foot-pounds.

14. works Moral or righteous acts or deeds: salvation by faith rather than works.

15. works

a. Informal The full range of possibilities; everything. Used with the: ordered a pizza with the works.

b. Slang A thorough beating or other severe treatment. Used with the: took him outside and gave him the works.

adj.

Of, relating to, designed for, or engaged in work.

v. worked also wrought (rôt), work·ing, works

v.intr.

1. To exert oneself physically or mentally in order to do, make, or accomplish something.

2. To be employed; have a job.

3.

a. To function; operate: How does this latch work?

b. To function or operate in the desired or required way: The telephone hasn’t worked since the thunderstorm.

4.

a. To have a given effect or outcome: Our friendship works best when we speak our minds.

b. To have the desired effect or outcome; prove successful: This recipe seems to work.

5. To exert an influence. Used with on or upon: worked on her to join the group.

6. To arrive at a specified condition through gradual or repeated movement: The stitches worked loose.

7. To proceed or progress slowly and laboriously: worked through the underbrush; worked through my problems in therapy.

8. To move in an agitated manner, as with emotion: Her mouth worked with fear.

9. To behave in a specified way when handled or processed: Not all metals work easily.

10. To ferment.

11. Nautical

a. To strain in heavy seas so that the joints give slightly and the fastenings become slack. Used of a boat or ship.

b. To sail against the wind.

12. To undergo small motions that result in friction and wear: The gears work against each other.

v.tr.

1. To cause or effect; bring about: working miracles.

2. To cause to operate or function; actuate, use, or manage: worked the controls; can work a lathe.

3. To shape or forge: “Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor” (Edgar Allan Poe).

4. To make or decorate by needlework: work a sampler.

5. To solve (a problem) by calculation and reasoning.

6. To knead, stir, or otherwise manipulate in preparation: Work the dough before shaping it.

7. To bring to a specified condition by gradual or repeated effort or work: finally worked the window open; worked the slaves to death.

8. To make, achieve, or pay for by work or effort: worked her way to the top; worked his passage on the ship.

9. Informal To arrange or contrive. Often used with it: worked it so that her weekends are free.

10. To make productive; cultivate: work a farm.

11. To cause to work: works his laborers hard.

12. To excite or provoke: worked the mob into a frenzy.

13. Informal

a. To gratify, cajole, or enchant artfully, especially for the purpose of influencing: The politician worked the crowd. The comedian worked the room with flawless rhythm.

b. To use or manipulate to one’s own advantage; exploit: learned how to work the system; worked his relatives for sympathy.

14. To carry on an operation or function in or through: the agent who works that area; working the phones for donations.

15. To ferment (liquor, for example).

Phrasal Verbs:

work in

1. To insert or introduce: worked in a request for money.

2. To make an opening for, as in a schedule: said the doctor would try to work her in.

3. To cause to be inserted by repeated or continuous effort.

work into

1. To insert or introduce into.

2. To make an opening for (someone or something) in: worked a few field trips into the semester’s calendar.

3. To cause to be inserted in by repeated or continuous effort: worked the pick into the lock.

work off

To get rid of by work or effort: work off extra pounds; work off a debt.

work out

1. To accomplish by work or effort.

2. To find a solution for; solve: worked out the equations; worked out their personal differences.

3. To formulate or develop: work out a plan.

4. To discharge (an obligation or debt) with labor in place of money.

5. To prove successful, effective, or satisfactory: The new strategy may not work out.

6. To have a specified result: The ratio works out to an odd number. It worked out that everyone left on the same train.

7. To engage in strenuous exercise for physical conditioning.

8. To exhaust (a mine, for example).

work over

1. To do for a second time; rework.

2. Slang To inflict severe physical damage on; beat up.

work up

1. To arouse the emotions of; excite.

2.

a. To increase one’s skill, responsibility, efficiency, or status through work: worked up to 30 sit-ups a day; worked up to store manager.

b. To intensify gradually: The film works up to a thrilling climax.

3. To develop or produce by mental or physical effort: worked up a patient profile; worked up an appetite.

Idioms:

at work

1. Engaged in labor; working: at work on a new project.

2. In operation: inflationary forces at work in the economy.

in the works

In preparation; under development: has a novel in the works.

out of work

Without a job; unemployed.

put in work

To perform labor or duties, as on a specified project: put in work on the plastering.

work both sides of the street

To engage in double-dealing; be duplicitous.

work like a charm

To function very well or have a very good effect or outcome.

work (one’s) fingers to the bone

To labor extremely hard; toil or travail.

[Middle English, from Old English weorc; see werg- in Indo-European roots.]

Synonyms: work, labor, toil1, drudgery, travail

These nouns refer to physical or mental effort expended to produce or accomplish something. Work is the most widely applicable: “Which of us … is to do the hard and dirty work for the restand for what pay?” (John Ruskin). “A work that aspires … to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line” (Joseph Conrad).

Labor usually implies human work, especially of a hard physical or intellectual nature: “garner the fruits of their own labors” (Roger Casement).

Toil applies principally to strenuous, fatiguing labor: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” (Winston S. Churchill).

Drudgery suggests dull, wearisome, or monotonous work: “the drudgery of penning definitions and marking quotations for transcription” (Thomas Macaulay).

Travail connotes arduous work involving pain or suffering: “prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth” (Henry Beston).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

work [w??k]

n

1. physical or mental effort directed towards doing or making something

2. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) paid employment at a job or a trade, occupation, or profession

3. a duty, task, or undertaking

4. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) something done, made, etc., as a result of effort or exertion a work of art

5. materials or tasks on which to expend effort or exertion

6. another word for workmanship [3]

7. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) the place, office, etc., where a person is employed

8. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) any piece of material that is undergoing a manufacturing operation or process; workpiece

9. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms)

a. decoration or ornamentation, esp of a specified kind

b. (in combination) wirework woolwork

10. (Engineering / General Engineering) an engineering structure such as a bridge, building, etc.

11. (Physics / General Physics) Physics the transfer of energy expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which its point of application moves in the direction of the force. Abbreviations W w

12. (Military / Fortifications) a structure, wall, etc., built or used as part of a fortification system

at work

a. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) at one’s job or place of employment

b. in action; operating

make short work of Informal to handle or dispose of very quickly

15. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (modifier) of, relating to, or used for work work clothes a work permit

vb

1. (intr) to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something

2. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (intr) to be employed

3. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (tr) to carry on operations, activity, etc., in (a place or area) that salesman works the southern region

4. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (tr) to cause to labour or toil he works his men hard

5. to operate or cause to operate, esp properly or effectively to work a lathe that clock doesn’t work

6. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Agriculture) (tr) to till or cultivate (land)

7. to handle or manipulate or be handled or manipulated to work dough

8. to shape, form, or process or be shaped, formed, or processed to work copper

9. to reach or cause to reach a specific condition, esp gradually the rope worked loose

10. (Mathematics) (tr) Chiefly US and Canadian to solve (a mathematical problem)

11. (intr) to move in agitation his face worked with anger

12. (tr; often foll by up) to provoke or arouse to work someone into a frenzy

13. (tr) to effect or accomplish to work one’s revenge

14. to make (one’s way) with effort he worked his way through the crowd

15. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Knitting & Sewing) (tr) to make or decorate by hand in embroidery, tapestry, etc. she was working a sampler

16. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) (intr) (of a mechanism) to move in a loose or otherwise imperfect fashion

17. (Miscellaneous Technologies / Brewing) (intr) (of liquids) to ferment, as in brewing

18. (tr) Informal to manipulate or exploit to one’s own advantage1. Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.

2.

a. A job; employment: looking for work.

b. A trade, profession, or other means of livelihood.

3.

a. Something that one is doing, making, or performing, especially as an occupation or undertaking; a duty or task: begin the day’s work.

b. An amount of such activity either done or required: a week’s work.

4.

a. The part of a day devoted to an occupation or undertaking: met her after work.

b. One’s place of employment: Should I call you at home or at work?

5.

a. Something that has been produced or accomplished through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing: This story is the work of an active imagination. Erosion is the work of wind, water, and time.

b. Full action or effect of an agency: The sleeping pills did their work.

c. An act; a deed: “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

6.

a. An artistic creation, such as a painting, sculpture, or literary or musical composition; a work of art.

b. works The output of a writer, artist, or musician considered or collected as a whole: the works of Shakespeare.

7.

a. works Engineering structures, such as bridges or dams.

b. A fortified structure, such as a trench or fortress.

8.

a. Needlework, weaving, lacemaking, or a similar textile art.

b. A piece of such textile art.

9. A material or piece of material being processed in a machine during manufacture: work to be turned in the lathe.

10. works (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A factory, plant, or similar building or complex of buildings where a specific type of business or industry is carried on. Often used in combination: a steelworks.

11. works Internal mechanism: the works of a watch.

12. The manner, style, or quality of working or treatment; workmanship.

13. Abbr. w Physics The transfer of energy from one physical system to another, especially the transfer of energy to a body by the application of a force that moves the body in the direction of the force. It is calculated as the product of the force and the distance through which the body moves and is expressed in joules, ergs, and foot-pounds.

14. works Moral or righteous acts or deeds: salvation by faith rather than works.

15. works

a. Informal The full range of possibilities; everything. Used with the: ordered a pizza with the works.

b. Slang A thorough beating or other severe treatment. Used with the: took him outside and gave him the works.

adj.

Of, relating to, designed for, or engaged in work.

v. worked also wrought (rôt), work·ing, works

v.intr.

1. To exert oneself physically or mentally in order to do, make, or accomplish something.

2. To be employed; have a job.

3.

a. To function; operate: How does this latch work?

b. To function or operate in the desired or required way: The telephone hasn’t worked since the thunderstorm.

4.

a. To have a given effect or outcome: Our friendship works best when we speak our minds.

b. To have the desired effect or outcome; prove successful: This recipe seems to work.

5. To exert an influence. Used with on or upon: worked on her to join the group.

6. To arrive at a specified condition through gradual or repeated movement: The stitches worked loose.

7. To proceed or progress slowly and laboriously: worked through the underbrush; worked through my problems in therapy.

8. To move in an agitated manner, as with emotion: Her mouth worked with fear.

9. To behave in a specified way when handled or processed: Not all metals work easily.

10. To ferment.

11. Nautical

a. To strain in heavy seas so that the joints give slightly and the fastenings become slack. Used of a boat or ship.

b. To sail against the wind.

12. To undergo small motions that result in friction and wear: The gears work against each other.

v.tr.

1. To cause or effect; bring about: working miracles.

2. To cause to operate or function; actuate, use, or manage: worked the controls; can work a lathe.

3. To shape or forge: “Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor” (Edgar Allan Poe).

4. To make or decorate by needlework: work a sampler.

5. To solve (a problem) by calculation and reasoning.

6. To knead, stir, or otherwise manipulate in preparation: Work the dough before shaping it.

7. To bring to a specified condition by gradual or repeated effort or work: finally worked the window open; worked the slaves to death.

8. To make, achieve, or pay for by work or effort: worked her way to the top; worked his passage on the ship.

9. Informal To arrange or contrive. Often used with it: worked it so that her weekends are free.

10. To make productive; cultivate: work a farm.

11. To cause to work: works his laborers hard.

12. To excite or provoke: worked the mob into a frenzy.

13. Informal

a. To gratify, cajole, or enchant artfully, especially for the purpose of influencing: The politician worked the crowd. The comedian worked the room with flawless rhythm.

b. To use or manipulate to one’s own advantage; exploit: learned how to work the system; worked his relatives for sympathy.

14. To carry on an operation or function in or through: the agent who works that area; working the phones for donations.

15. To ferment (liquor, for example).

Phrasal Verbs:

work in

1. To insert or introduce: worked in a request for money.

2. To make an opening for, as in a schedule: said the doctor would try to work her in.

3. To cause to be inserted by repeated or continuous effort.

work into

1. To insert or introduce into.

2. To make an opening for (someone or something) in: worked a few field trips into the semester’s calendar.

3. To cause to be inserted in by repeated or continuous effort: worked the pick into the lock.

work off

To get rid of by work or effort: work off extra pounds; work off a debt.

work out

1. To accomplish by work or effort.

2. To find a solution for; solve: worked out the equations; worked out their personal differences.

3. To formulate or develop: work out a plan.

4. To discharge (an obligation or debt) with labor in place of money.

5. To prove successful, effective, or satisfactory: The new strategy may not work out.

6. To have a specified result: The ratio works out to an odd number. It worked out that everyone left on the same train.

7. To engage in strenuous exercise for physical conditioning.

8. To exhaust (a mine, for example).

work over

1. To do for a second time; rework.

2. Slang To inflict severe physical damage on; beat up.

work up

1. To arouse the emotions of; excite.

2.

a. To increase one’s skill, responsibility, efficiency, or status through work: worked up to 30 sit-ups a day; worked up to store manager.

b. To intensify gradually: The film works up to a thrilling climax.

3. To develop or produce by mental or physical effort: worked up a patient profile; worked up an appetite.

Idioms:

at work

1. Engaged in labor; working: at work on a new project.

2. In operation: inflationary forces at work in the economy.

in the works

In preparation; under development: has a novel in the works.

out of work

Without a job; unemployed.

put in work

To perform labor or duties, as on a specified project: put in work on the plastering.

work both sides of the street

To engage in double-dealing; be duplicitous.

work like a charm

To function very well or have a very good effect or outcome.

work (one’s) fingers to the bone

To labor extremely hard; toil or travail.

[Middle English, from Old English weorc; see werg- in Indo-European roots.]

Synonyms: work, labor, toil1, drudgery, travail

These nouns refer to physical or mental effort expended to produce or accomplish something. Work is the most widely applicable: “Which of us … is to do the hard and dirty work for the restand for what pay?” (John Ruskin). “A work that aspires … to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line” (Joseph Conrad).

Labor usually implies human work, especially of a hard physical or intellectual nature: “garner the fruits of their own labors” (Roger Casement).

Toil applies principally to strenuous, fatiguing labor: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” (Winston S. Churchill).

Drudgery suggests dull, wearisome, or monotonous work: “the drudgery of penning definitions and marking quotations for transcription” (Thomas Macaulay).

Travail connotes arduous work involving pain or suffering: “prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth” (Henry Beston).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

work [w??k]

n

1. physical or mental effort directed towards doing or making something

2. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) paid employment at a job or a trade, occupation, or profession

3. a duty, task, or undertaking

4. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) something done, made, etc., as a result of effort or exertion a work of art

5. materials or tasks on which to expend effort or exertion

6. another word for workmanship [3]

7. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) the place, office, etc., where a person is employed

8. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) any piece of material that is undergoing a manufacturing operation or process; workpiece

9. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms)

a. decoration or ornamentation, esp of a specified kind

b. (in combination) wirework woolwork

10. (Engineering / General Engineering) an engineering structure such as a bridge, building, etc.

11. (Physics / General Physics) Physics the transfer of energy expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which its point of application moves in the direction of the force. Abbreviations W w

12. (Military / Fortifications) a structure, wall, etc., built or used as part of a fortification system

at work

a. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) at one’s job or place of employment

b. in action; operating

make short work of Informal to handle or dispose of very quickly

15. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (modifier) of, relating to, or used for work work clothes a work permit

vb

1. (intr) to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something

2. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (intr) to be employed

3. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (tr) to carry on operations, activity, etc., in (a place or area) that salesman works the southern region

4. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (tr) to cause to labour or toil he works his men hard

5. to operate or cause to operate, esp properly or effectively to work a lathe that clock doesn’t work

6. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Agriculture) (tr) to till or cultivate (land)

7. to handle or manipulate or be handled or manipulated to work dough

8. to shape, form, or process or be shaped, formed, or processed to work copper

9. to reach or cause to reach a specific condition, esp gradually the rope worked loose

10. (Mathematics) (tr) Chiefly US and Canadian to solve (a mathematical problem)

11. (intr) to move in agitation his face worked with anger

12. (tr; often foll by up) to provoke or arouse to work someone into a frenzy

13. (tr) to effect or accomplish to work one’s revenge

14. to make (one’s way) with effort he worked his way through the crowd

15. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Knitting & Sewing) (tr) to make or decorate by hand in embroidery, tapestry, etc. she was working a sampler

16. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) (intr) (of a mechanism) to move in a loose or otherwise imperfect fashion

17. (Miscellaneous Technologies / Brewing) (intr) (of liquids) to ferment, as in brewing

18. (tr) Informal to manipulate or exploit to one’s own advantage

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