work force

or work·force


the total number of workers in a specific undertaking: a holiday for the company's work force.
the total number of persons employed or employable: a sharp increase in the nation's work force.

Nearby words

  1. work both sides of the street,
  2. work camp,
  3. work ethic,
  4. work expands to fill the time available for its completion,
  5. work farm,
  6. work function,
  7. work in,
  8. work it,
  9. work like a beaver,
  10. work like a charm

Origin of work force

First recorded in 1940–45

Also called labor force. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for workforce

British Dictionary definitions for workforce


/ (ˈwɜːkˌfɔːs) /


the total number of workers employed by a company on a specific job, project, etc
the total number of people who could be employedthe country's workforce is growing rapidly
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 workforce



1961, from work (n.) + force (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper