View synonyms for work



[ wurk ]


  1. exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.

    Antonyms: rest, play

  2. productive or operative activity.

    Synonyms: business, occupation, industry

  3. employment, as in some form of industry, especially as a means of earning one's livelihood:

    to look for work.

    Synonyms: profession, vocation, calling, trade, job

  4. one's place of employment:

    Don't phone him at work.

  5. something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking:

    The students finished their work in class.

    Synonyms: responsibility, job, assignment, enterprise

  6. materials, things, etc., on which one is working or is to work.
  7. the result of exertion, labor, or activity; a deed or performance.

    Synonyms: feat, achievement, product

  8. a product of exertion, labor, or activity:

    musical works.

  9. Often works. an engineering structure, as a building or bridge.
  10. a building, wall, trench, or the like, constructed or made as a means of fortification.
  11. works,
    1. (used with a singular or plural verb) a place or establishment for manufacturing (often used in combination):


    2. the working parts of a machine:

      the works of a watch.

    3. Theology. righteous deeds.
  12. Physics. force times the distance through which it acts; specifically, the transference of energy equal to the product of the component of a force that acts in the direction of the motion of the point of application of the force and the distance through which the point of application moves.
  13. the works, Informal.
    1. everything; all related items or matters:

      a hamburger with the works.

    2. harsh or cruel treatment:

      to give someone the works.


  1. of, for, or concerning work:

    work clothes.

verb (used without object)

worked or (Archaic) wroughtworking
  1. to do work; labor.

    Synonyms: drudge, toil

  2. to be employed, especially as a means of earning one's livelihood:

    He hasn't worked for six weeks.

  3. to be in operation, as a machine:

    The water should not be disconnected while the pump is working.

  4. to act or operate effectively:

    We all agree that this plan works.

  5. to attain a specified condition, as by repeated movement:

    The nails worked loose.

  6. to have an effect or influence, as on a person or on the mind or feelings of a person.
  7. to move in agitation, as the features under strong emotion.
  8. to make way with effort or under stress:

    The ship works to windward.

  9. Nautical. to give slightly at the joints, as a vessel under strain at sea.
  10. Machinery. to move improperly, as from defective fitting of parts or from wear.
  11. to undergo treatment by labor in a given way:

    This dough works slowly.

  12. to ferment, as a liquid.

verb (used with object)

worked or ( Archaic except ) wroughtworking
  1. to use or manage (an apparatus, contrivance, etc.):

    It is easy to work the camera in this mobile device.

    She can work many power tools.

    Synonyms: handle, manipulate, operate

  2. to bring about (any result) by or as by work or effort:

    to work a change.

    Synonyms: achieve, produce, effect, accomplish

  3. to manipulate or treat by labor:

    to work butter.

  4. to put into effective operation.
  5. to operate (a mine, farm, etc.) for productive purposes:

    to work a coal mine.

  6. to carry on operations in (a district or region).
  7. to make, fashion, or execute by work.

    Synonyms: shape, model, form, make

  8. to achieve or win by work or effort:

    to work one's passage.

  9. to keep (a person, a horse, etc.) at work:

    She works her employees hard.

  10. to cause a strong emotion in:

    to work a crowd into a frenzy.

  11. to influence or persuade, especially insidiously:

    to work other people to one's will.

    Synonyms: sway, move

  12. Informal. to exploit (someone or something) to one's advantage:

    See if you can work your uncle for a new car. He worked his charm in landing a new job.

  13. to make or decorate by needlework or embroidery:

    She worked a needlepoint cushion.

  14. to cause fermentation in.

verb phrase

    1. to study or examine thoroughly:

      For my term paper I worked over 30 volumes of Roman history.

    2. Informal. to beat unsparingly, especially in order to obtain something or out of revenge:

      They threatened to work him over until he talked.

  1. to exercise influence on; persuade; affect:

    I'll work on her, and maybe she'll change her mind.

    1. to lose or dispose of, as by exercise or labor:

      We decided to work off the effects of a heavy supper by walking for an hour.

    2. to pay or fulfill by working:

      He worked off his debt by doing odd jobs.

    1. to move or stir the feelings; excite.
    2. to prepare; elaborate:

      Work up some plans.

    3. to increase in efficiency or skill:

      He worked up his typing speed to 70 words a minute.

    1. to bring about by work, effort, or action.
    2. to solve, as a problem.
    3. to arrive at by or as by calculation.
    4. to pay (a debt) by working instead of paying money.
    5. to exhaust, as a mine.
    6. to issue in a result.
    7. to evolve; elaborate.
    8. to amount to (a total or specified figure); add up (to):

      The total works out to 176.

    9. to prove effective or successful:

      Their marriage just didn't work out.

    10. to practice, exercise, or train, especially in order to become proficient in an athletic sport:

      The boxers are working out at the gym tonight.

    1. to bring or put in; add, merge, or blend:

      The tailor worked in the patch skillfully. Work the cream into the hands until it is completely absorbed.

    2. to arrange a time or employment for:

      The dentist was very busy, but said she would be able to work me in late in the afternoon. They worked him into the new operation.

  2. to deal with successfully; come to terms with:

    to work through one's feelings of guilt.

  3. rise to a higher position; advance:

    He worked up to the presidency.



[ wurk ]


  1. Henry Clay, 1832–84, U.S. songwriter.


/ wɜːk /


  1. physical or mental effort directed towards doing or making something
  2. paid employment at a job or a trade, occupation, or profession
  3. a duty, task, or undertaking
  4. 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
  7. the place, office, etc, where a person is employed
  8. any piece of material that is undergoing a manufacturing operation or process; workpiece
    1. decoration or ornamentation, esp of a specified kind
    2. ( in combination )



  9. an engineering structure such as a bridge, building, etc
  10. 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 AbbreviationWw
  11. a structure, wall, etc, built or used as part of a fortification system
  12. at work
    1. at one's job or place of employment
    2. in action; operating
  13. make short work of informal.
    to handle or dispose of very quickly
  14. modifier of, relating to, or used for work

    a work permit

    work clothes


  1. intr to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something
  2. intr to be employed
  3. tr to carry on operations, activity, etc, in (a place or area)

    that salesman works the southern region

  4. 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. 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. tr to solve (a mathematical problem)
  11. intr to move in agitation

    his face worked with anger

  12. troften foll byup 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. tr to make or decorate by hand in embroidery, tapestry, etc

    she was working a sampler

  16. intr (of a mechanism) to move in a loose or otherwise imperfect fashion
  17. intr (of liquids) to ferment, as in brewing
  18. informal.
    tr to manipulate or exploit to one's own advantage
  19. slang.
    tr to cheat or swindle


/ wûrk /

  1. The transfer of energy from one object to another, especially in order to make the second object move in a certain direction. Work is equal to the amount of force multiplied by the distance over which it is applied. If a force of 10 newtons, for example, is applied over a distance of 3 meters, the work is equal to 30 newtons per meter, or 30 joules. The unit for measuring work is the same as that for energy in any system of units, since work is simply a transfer of energy.
  2. Compare energy


  1. In physics , the product of a force applied, and the distance through which that force acts.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈworklessness, noun
  • ˈworkless, adjective

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Other Words From

  • nonwork noun
  • pre·work verb preworked or prewrought preworking
  • prework noun adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of work1

First recorded before 900; (noun) Middle English worke, Old English worc, replacing Middle English werk(e), Old English weorc, cognate with Old Frisian, Old Saxon werk, Old High German werah, werc ( German Werk ), Old Norse verk, Greek érgon; (verb) Middle English worken, derivative of the noun, replacing Middle English wyrchen, Old English wyrcean; cognate with German wirken, Old Norse verkja, Gothic waurkjan

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Word History and Origins

Origin of work1

Old English weorc (n), wircan, wyrcan (vb); related to Old High German wurchen, German wirken, Old Norse yrkja, Gothic waurkjan

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. at work,
    1. working, as at one's job:

      He's at work on a new novel.

    2. in action or operation:

      to see the machines at work.

  2. gum up the works, Slang. to spoil something, as through blundering or stupidity:

    The surprise party was all arranged, but her little brother gummed up the works and told her.

  3. in the works, in preparation or being planned:

    A musical version of the book is in the works.

  4. make short work of, to finish or dispose of quickly:

    We made short work of the chocolate layer cake.

  5. out of work, unemployed; jobless:

    Many people in the area were out of work.

  6. shoot the works, Slang. to spend all one's resources:

    Let's shoot the works and order the crêpes suzette.

  7. work it, Informal.
    1. to arrange something:

      I'll try to work it so that we can all travel together.

    2. to show off one’s body or clothing to best effect, often through movement or posing:

      The models were working it on the runway.

      Work it on the dance floor, baby!

More idioms and phrases containing work

  • all in a day's work
  • all work and no play
  • at work
  • busy work
  • dirty work
  • get down to (work)
  • good works
  • gum up (the works)
  • have one's work cut out
  • in the works
  • make short work of
  • many hands make light work
  • out of work
  • shoot the works
  • the works
  • turn (work) out all right

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Example Sentences

I worked very loyally for him to do everything I could for him.

Both are recovering well after their surgeries and are already back to work.

The NBCU spokesperson said the company would work with each advertiser to decide how the data would be used and managed.

From Digiday

It works with the full-sized Smart Keyboard and the new Logitech keyboards.

At Fortune, we’ve worked to make business better since our founding 90 years ago.

From Fortune

If anything the work the two cops and the maintenance guy were doing deserves more respect and probably helped a lot more people.

Why, some might be asking, am I being so harsh on their work so soon after they died?

“I love my job and I love my city and I am committed to the work here,” he said in a statement.

So it might be me projecting my desires onto Archer to want to just get away from work for a few weeks.

To make it work almost everything else about these shows has to seem factual which is why many look like a weird Celebrity Sims.

Sleek finds it far harder work than fortune-making; but he pursues his Will-o'-the-Wisp with untiring energy.

With him one is at high pressure all the time, and I have gained a good many more ideas from him than I can work up in a hurry.

In fact, except for Ramona's help, it would have been a question whether even Alessandro could have made Baba work in harness.

The sad end of the mission to King M'Bongo has been narrated in the body of this work.

Entrez donc, 'tis the work of one of your compatriots; and here, though a heretic, you may consider yourself on English ground.


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When To Use

What are other ways to say work?

The noun work refers to the exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something. When should you use work instead of drudgery, labor, or toil? Find out on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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