1 work /?w?k/ verb
works; worked; working
1 work
works; worked; working
Learner's definition of WORK
: to have a job
[no object]
[+ object]
: to do things as part of your job
[no object]
[+ object]
[+ object] : to do work in, on, or at (an area, event, etc.)
[no object] : to do something that involves physical or mental effort
[+ object] : to force (someone or something) to do something that involves physical or mental effort
[+ object] : to use and control (something)
[no object] : to perform or operate in the correct way
[no object]
: to have the intended effect or result
always followed by an adverb or preposition : to have a particular effect or result
[+ object] : to cause (something) to happen
: to move (something) into or out of a particular position slowly or with difficulty
[+ object]
[no object]
see also work your way (below)
[+ object] : to bring (something) into a desired shape or form by cutting it, pressing it, etc.
[+ object] : to talk to and try to gain the friendship or support of (the people in a group)

work around

[phrasal verb] or chiefly British work round
work around/round (something) : to organize things or proceed in a way that avoids (something, such as a problem)
work around/round to (something) : to start talking or writing about (a subject, issue, etc.) after talking or writing about other things

work at

[phrasal verb]
work at (something)
: to make an effort to do (something) better

work in

[phrasal verb]
work (something) in or work in (something)
: to add or include (something) in a conversation, essay, etc.
: to stir or mix (something) into something
work (someone or something) in US : to make an amount of time available for (someone or something)

work into

[phrasal verb]
work (something) into (something)
: to add or include (something) in (something)
: to stir or mix (something) into (something)
work (someone) into (something) : to gradually cause (someone) to be in (an excited, angry, or frightened state)

work it/things

: to arrange your activities in a particular way so that it is possible for something to happen or be done

work off

[phrasal verb]
work off (something) or work (something) off
: to pay (a debt) by working
: to lose or get rid of (something) by physical activity

work on

[phrasal verb]
work on (something) : to be in the process of making (something), doing (something), etc.
work on doing (something) : to make an effort to do (something)
work on (someone) : to try to influence or persuade (someone) to do something

work out

[phrasal verb]
: to perform athletic exercises in order to improve your health or physical fitness
: to happen, develop, or end in a desired or successful way
: to happen, develop, or end in a particular way or to have a particular result
work out (something) or work (something) out
: to find or create (something, such as a solution or a plan) by thinking
: to use mathematics to solve (something)
work (someone) out or work out (someone) British : to understand the behavior of (someone)

work over

[phrasal verb]
work (someone) over informal
: to hurt (someone) by hitting, kicking, etc.

work through

[phrasal verb]
: to deal with (something that is difficult or unpleasant) successfully

work to

[phrasal verb]
work to (something) chiefly British
: to work within the limits of (something)

work up

[phrasal verb]
work (someone) up : to make (someone) feel very angry, excited, upset, etc. see also worked up
work up (something) or work (something) up
: to produce (something) by physical or mental effort
chiefly British : to improve your skill at (something) or increase your knowledge of (something)
chiefly British : to develop or expand (something) usually + into
work up to (something) : to reach (something, such as a rate or level) by gradually increasing in speed, intensity, etc.

work wonders

see 1wonder

work your fingers to the bone

see 1finger

work your magic

see 1magic

work your way

: to move yourself into or out of a particular position slowly or with difficulty
sometimes used figuratively
? If you work your way through college/school, you have a job that helps you pay for your expenses while you go to college/school.
2 work /?w?k/ noun
plural works
2 work
plural works
Learner's definition of WORK
: a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn money
see also life's work, social work
: the place where you do your job
: the things that you do especially as part of your job
: things (such as papers, files, etc.) that you use to do your job
see also donkey work, fieldwork, groundwork, homework, housework, legwork, paperwork, piecework, schoolwork
: physical or mental effort that is used to perform a job or achieve a goal
: the process or activity of working
? Phrases like good work, nice work, etc., are used to tell people that they have done something very well.
[noncount] : something that is produced or done by someone
: something (such as a book, song, or painting) that is produced by a writer, musician, artist, etc.
see also artwork, handiwork, handwork
works [plural] : roads, bridges, dams, and similar structures : structures that are built by engineers see also public works, waterworks
works : a place where industrial labor is done : a factory
see also gasworks
the works : the moving parts of a machine sometimes used figuratively
the works informal : everything
[noncount] physics : the energy that is used when a force is applied over a given distance

at work

: actively doing work
: doing your regular job
: having an effect or influence

have your work cut out for you

? If you have your work cut out for you, the thing you need to do is very difficult, and you have to work very hard to achieve it.

in the works

: in the process of being prepared, developed, or completed

in work

: having a regular job

make short/quick/light work of

: to make it possible for (something) to be done quickly or easily
? The expression many hands make light work means that people can do things more quickly and easily when they work together.
: to finish (something) or defeat (someone) quickly and easily

out of work

: without a regular job

put/throw a spanner in the works

see spanner

throw a wrench into the works

see 1wrench
see also piece of work
3 work /?w?k/ adjective
3 work
Learner's definition of WORK
always used before a noun
: suitable to be worn while you are working
: of or relating to a person's job
Comments & Questions
Comments & Questions
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