do a job on, Slang.
    1. to destroy, defeat, damage, or confound thoroughly: The thugs did a job on him—he'll be in the hospital for a month.
    2. to deceive, persuade, or charm glibly; snow.
    on the job, alert; observant: The cops were on the job and caught them red-handed.

Origin of job

1620–30; 1935–40 for def 15; origin uncertain

Synonyms for job

1. See task. 2. See position.



verb (used with or without object), jobbed, job·bing, noun

Origin of job

1480–90; Middle English jobben, of uncertain origin




the central figure in an Old Testament parable of the righteous sufferer.
a book of the Bible bearing his name.
a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “persecuted.” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for job

Contemporary Examples of job

Historical Examples of job

  • I wish our job was finished and we were going the other way.

    Wyndham's Pal

    Harold Bindloss

  • Our job is to get the Doctor down here to look at that prize specimen before it moves off to the Deep Hole.

  • The long and short of it is that the matchmaking luminary had cut Reb Feive out of his job.

  • "He should be pretty quick in getting through the job," observed Barbican, the first as usual to recover tranquillity.

  • I've noticed he don't work at the job much without he's gettin' something out of it.

British Dictionary definitions for job



an individual piece of work or task
an occupation; post of employment
an object worked on or a result produced from working
a duty or responsibilityher job was to cook the dinner
informal a difficult task or problemI had a job to contact him
a state of affairsmake the best of a bad job; it's a good job I saw you
informal a damaging piece of workhe really did a job on that
informal a crime, esp a robbery or burglary
informal an article or specimenthe new car was a nice little job
an instance of jobbery
computing a unit of work for a computer consisting of a single complete task submitted by a user
jobs for the boys appointments given to or created for allies or favourites
on the job
  1. actively engaged in one's employment
  2. British tabooengaged in sexual intercourse
just the job exactly what was required

verb jobs, jobbing or jobbed

(intr) to work by the piece or at casual jobs
to make a private profit out of (a public office, etc)
(intr usually foll by in)
  1. to buy and sell (goods or services) as a middlemanhe jobs in government surplus
  2. Britishto buy and sell stocks and shares as a stockjobberhe jobs in blue chips
(tr often foll by out) to apportion (a contract, work, etc) among several contractors, workers, etc

Word Origin for job

C16: of uncertain origin



Old Testament
  1. a Jewish patriarch, who maintained his faith in God in spite of the afflictions sent by God to test him
  2. the book containing Job's pleas to God under these afflictions, attempted explanations of them by his friends, and God's reply to him
any person who withstands great suffering without despairing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for job

1550s, in phrase jobbe of worke "piece of work" (contrasted with continuous labor), of uncertain origin, perhaps a variant of gobbe "mass, lump" (c.1400; see gob) via sense of "a cart-load." Sense of "work done for pay" first recorded 1650s. Thieves' slang sense of "theft, robbery, a planned crime" is from 1722. Printing sense is from 1795. Slang meaning "specimen, thing, person" is from 1927.

job. (1) A low mean lucrative busy affair. (2) Petty, piddling work; a piece of chance work. [Johnson's Dictionary]

On the job "hard at work" is from 1882. Job lot is from obsolete sense of "cartload, lump," which might also ultimately be from gob. Job security attested by 1954; job description by 1920; job-sharing by 1972.


Biblical masc. proper name, from Hebrew Iyyobh, which according to some scholars is literally "hated, persecuted," from ayyabh "he was hostile to," related to ebhah "enmity." Others say it means "the penitent one."


1660s, "to buy and sell as a broker," from job (n.). Meaning "to cheat, betray" is from 1903. Related: Jobbed; jobbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for job



In the Old Testament, a man whose faith was severely tested by Satan, with God's permission. Job was the most prosperous and happy of men, who faithfully praised God for God's goodness. In order to get him to curse God, Satan destroyed all that Job owned, killed his children, and struck Job himself with vile sores from head to foot. False friends of Job's suggested that he should abandon his beliefs (see Job's comforters). But even in absolute misery, Job would not curse God, saying instead, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.” As a reward for his steadfast faith, God healed Job and “gave him twice as much as he had before.”


Figuratively, any long-suffering person can be said to be “as patient as Job.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with job


see do a job on; hatchet man (job); lie down (on the job); on the job; put-up job; snow job; soft job.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.