American English

Definition of work noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    jump to other results
  1. 1[uncountable] the job that a person does, especially in order to earn money synonym employment She had been out of work (= without a job) for a year. He started work as a security guard. It is difficult to find work in the present economic climate. I'm still looking for work. She's planning to return to work once the children start school. What line of work are you in (= what type of work do you do)? before/after work (= in the morning/evening each day) full-time/part-time/unpaid/volunteer work Topic CollocationsJobsgetting a job look for work look for/apply for/go for a job get/pick up/complete/fill out an application (form) send/e-mail your résumé/CV/application/application form/cover letter be called for/have/attend an interview offer somebody a job/work/employment/a promotion find/get/land a job employ/hire/recruit staff/workers/trainees recruit/appoint a managerdoing a job arrive at/get to/leave work/the office/the factory start/finish work/your shift do/put in/work overtime have/gain/get/lack/need experience/qualifications do/get/have/receive training learn/pick up/improve/develop (your) skills cope with/manage/share/spread/delegate the workload improve your/achieve a better work-life balance have (no) job satisfaction/job securitybuilding a career have a job/work/a career/a vocation find/follow/pursue your vocation enter/go into/join a profession choose/embark on/start/begin/pursue a career change jobs/professions/careers be/go/work freelance do/take on temp work/freelance work do/be engaged in/be involved in volunteer workleaving your job leave/quit/resign from your job give up work/your job/your career hand in your notice/resignation plan to/be due to retire in June/next year, etc. take early retirement Topic CollocationsUnemploymentlosing your job lose/quit/leave your job get/be fired/ (informal) laid off/ (formal) terminated/asked to resign (for doing something) be offered/take early retirement face/be threatened with dismissal dismiss/fire an employee/a worker/a manager lay off staff/workers/employees cut/reduce/downsize the workforcebeing unemployed be unemployed/out of work/out of a job look for/seek work/employment be on/collect/draw/get/receive unemployment (benefits) claim/draw/get/be on/qualify for unemployment (compensation) be/go/live/depend on welfare collect/receive/apply for/qualify for welfare combat/tackle/cut/reduce unemployment
  2. 2[uncountable] the duties that you have and the activities that you do as part of your job Police work is mainly routine. The accountant described his work to the sales staff. see also piecework, social work
  3. 3[uncountable] tasks that need to be done There is plenty of work to be done in the garden. Taking care of a baby is hard work. I have some work for you to do. Stop talking and finish your work. see also homework, schoolwork
  4. 4[uncountable] materials needed or used for doing work, especially books, papers, etc. She often brings work (= for example, files and documents) home with her from the office. His work was spread all over the floor. see also paperwork
  5. place of job
  6. 5[uncountable] (used without the) the place where you do your job Igo to work at 8 o'clock. When do you leave for work? The new legislation concerns health and safety at work. I have to leave work early today. Her friends from work came to see her in the hospital.
  7. effort
  8. 6[uncountable] the use of physical strength or mental power in order to do or make something She earned her grades through sheer hard work. We started work on the project in 2009. Work continues on renovating the hotel. The work of building the bridge took six months. The art collection was his life's work. She set them to work painting the fence. They performed pioneering work on the treatment of cancer. see also donkey work, fieldwork
  9. product of work
  10. 7[uncountable] a thing or things that are produced as a result of work She's an artist whose work I really admire. Is this all your own work (= did you do it without help from others)? The book is a detailed and thorough piece of work covering all aspects of the subject.
  11. result of action
  12. 8[uncountable] the result of an action; what is done by someone The damage is clearly the work of vandals.
  13. book/music/art
  14. 9[countable] a book, piece of music, painting, etc. the collected/complete works of Tolstoy works of fiction/literature Beethoven's piano works He recognized the sketch as an early work by Degas. see also work of art compare opus
  15. building/repairing
  16. 10works [plural] (often in compounds) activities involving building or repairing something They expanded the shipyards and started engineering works. A contract can ensure that landlords carry out the works for which they are legally responsible. see also public works
  17. factory
  18. 11works (pl. works) [countable] (often in compounds) a place where things are made or industrial processes take place a brickworks Raw materials were carried to the works by rail. Thesaurusfactoryplant mill works yard workshop/shop foundryThese are all words for buildings or places where things are made or where industrial processes take place.factory a building or group of buildings where goods are made:a chocolate/cigarette/clothing factoryplant a factory or place where power is produced or an industrial process takes place:a nuclear power plant a manufacturing plant a bottling plantmill a factory that produces a particular type of material:a steel/cotton/paper/textile/woolen millworks (often in compounds) a place where things are made or an industrial process takes place:a brickworks a steelworks Raw materials were carried to the works by rail.yard (usually in compounds) an area of land used for building something:a shipyardworkshop/shop a room or building in which things are made or repaired using tools or machinery:a car repair shop a sheet metal workshopfoundry a factory where metal or glass is melted and made into different shapes or objects:an iron foundryPatterns a car/chemical/munitions factory/plant an engineering plant/(work)shop to manage/run a factory/plant/mill/works/yard/workshop/foundry to work in/at a factory/plant/mill/yard/workshop/foundry factory/mill/foundry owners/managers/workers
  19. parts of machine
  20. 12the works [plural] the moving parts of a machine, etc. synonym mechanism
  21. everything
  22. 13the works [plural] (informal) everything I want a pizza with the works: pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and anchovies.
  23. physics
  24. 14[uncountable] the use of force to produce movement see also joule
  25. Thesaurusworkemployment career profession occupation tradeThese are all words for the work that someone does in return for payment, especially over a long period of the job that someone does, especially in order to earn money:It's very difficult to find work at the moment. He's been out of work for months.employment (somewhat formal) work, especially when it is done to earn money; the state of being employed or the situation in which people have work:The company has employment opportunities right the job or series of jobs that someone has in a particular area of work, usually involving more responsibility as time passes:She had a very distinguished career in medicine.profession a type of job that needs special training or skill, especially one that needs a high level of education:He hopes to enter the medical profession. The profession is all the people who work in a particular profession:the legal profession. The professions is an old-fashioned term for the traditional jobs that need a high level of education and training, such as being a doctor or lawyer.occupation (somewhat formal) a job or profession:Please state your name, age, and a job, especially one that involves working with your hands and requires special training and skills:Carpentry is a highly skilled trade.Patterns (a) full-time/part-time work/employment/career/occupation permanent/temporary work/employment (a) well-paid work/employment/profession/occupation (a) low-paid work/employment/occupation to look for/seek/find/have work/employment/a career/an occupation to get/obtain/give somebody/offer somebody/create/generate/provide work/employmentIdioms
    all in a day's work
    jump to other results
    part of your normal working life and not unusual
    all work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy) (saying)
    jump to other results
    it is not healthy to spend all your time working; you need to relax too
    1. 1having an effect on something She suspected that secret influences were at work.
    2. 2at work (on something) busy doing something He is still at work on the painting. Danger—men at work.
    the devil makes work for idle hands (saying)
    jump to other results
    people who do not have enough to do often start to do wrong She blamed the crimes on the local jobless teenagers. “The devil makes work for idle hands,” she would say.
    (do somebody's) dirty work
    jump to other results
    (to do) the unpleasant or dishonest jobs that someone else does not want to do Next time you can get someone else to do your dirty work for you!
    get (down) to/set to work
    jump to other results
     to begin; to make a start We got to work on the outside of the house (= for example, painting it).
    go/set about your work
    jump to other results
    to do/start to do your work She went cheerfully about her work.
    kind acts to help others
    have your work cut out (for you) (informal)
    jump to other results
    to be likely to have difficulty doing something You have your work cut out for you if you want to get there on time.
    in the works/pipeline
    jump to other results
    something that is in the works or in the pipeline is being discussed, planned, or prepared and will happen or exist soon
    make hard work of something
    jump to other results
    to use more time or energy on a task than is necessary
    make light work of something
    jump to other results
    to do something quickly and with little effort
    make short work of something/somebody
    jump to other results
    to defeat or deal with something or someone quickly Our team made short work of the opposition (= in a sports competition). The kids made short work of the birthday cake (= ate it quickly).
    many hands make light work (saying)
    jump to other results
    used to say that a job is made easier if a lot of people help
    nice work if you can get it (informal)
    jump to other results
    used when you wish that you had someone's success or good luck and think they have achieved it with little effort He was paid $200 for a ten-minute speech? Nice work if you can get it.
    throw a monkey wrench in/into the works (also throw a wrench in/into the works) (informal)
    jump to other results
    to do something to spoil someone's plans
    the work of a moment, second, etc. (formal)
    jump to other results
    a thing that takes a very short time to do It was the work of a few minutes to hide the damage.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: work