works; worked; working
works; worked; working
Learner's definition of WORK
1 a : to have a job
I started working when I was sixteen.
Her husband doesn't work.
She works part-time at the restaurant.
She has always wanted to work in advertising.
She works with me. = She and I work together. [=she and I have jobs at the same place]
men and women who work outside the home [=who have jobs in factories, restaurants, office buildings, etc.]
[+ object] b : to do things as part of your job
She worked through lunch to get the report done.
I'm not working tomorrow—the boss gave me the day off.
He works from home. [=his job allows him to stay home and do his work]
I work for him. [=I am his employee]
I work under her. [=she is my boss/supervisor]
c [+ object] : to do work in, on, or at (an area, event, etc.)
He works about 60 hours a week.
The job requires that you work some nights and weekends.
She is used to working long hours.
She works the Northeast region of the state selling insurance.
He was hired as a sportscaster to work the games this season.
Crews work the quarry all day and night.
farmers working the fields
Our family has worked this land for centuries.
2 a [no object] : to do something that involves physical or mental effort
b [+ object] : to force (someone or something) to do something that involves physical or mental effort
She is working in the garden.
They worked all day (at) cleaning the house.
I can't work with all of this noise.
The principal worked hard to improve the school.
We're working toward a solution.
I enjoy working with my hands. [=using my hands to do or make things]
a sculptor who works in/with stone [=who makes things out of stone]
The exercise is designed to work the muscles in your chest.
The coach worked her team hard during practice.
She worked us into the ground. [=she made us work very hard and become very tired]
3 [+ object] : to use and control (something)
I don't know how to work your cell phone.
Who is working the machine?
The pump is worked by hand.
4 [no object] : to perform or operate in the correct way
The computer isn't working (properly).
Is the elevator working again?
I can't get this thing to work.
5 a : to have the intended effect or result
b always followed by an adverb or preposition : to have a particular effect or result
The medicine seems to be working.
Their plan worked.
The idea sounds good in theory, but it will never work in practice.
The commercial doesn't work for me. [=I don't like it; it doesn't affect me the way it is supposed to]
a dish detergent that works like magic [=that is very effective]
You need to do what works best for you.
Red curtains would work well in this room.
I think you'll get the job. Being bilingual definitely works in your favor. [=it helps or benefits you]
Her lack of experience worked against her in the election. [=it made her less likely to win in the election]
6 [+ object] : to cause (something) to happen
I'll do my best, but I can't work miracles. [=I can't make miracles happen]
He's a brilliant chef who works magic [=does special or remarkable things] with the most basic ingredients.
7 : to move (something) into or out of a particular position slowly or with difficulty
— see also work your way (below)
8 [+ object] : to bring (something) into a desired shape or form by cutting it, pressing it, etc. 9 [+ object] : to talk to and try to gain the friendship or support of (the people in a group)
The singer worked the crowd throughout the whole concert.
He's a politician who really knows how to work a room. [=how to talk to the people in a room to get their support, approval, etc.]
work around[phrasal verb]or chiefly Britishwork round
1 work around/round (something) : to organize things or proceed in a way that avoids (something, such as a problem) 2 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)
1 a : to add or include (something) in a conversation, essay, etc. b : to stir or mix (something) into something 2 work (someone or something) inUS : to make an amount of time available for (someone or something)
work into[phrasal verb]
work (something) into (something)
1 a : to add or include (something) in (something) b : to stir or mix (something) into (something) 2 work (someone) into (something) : to gradually cause (someone) to be in (an excited, angry, or frightened state)
: 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
1 : to pay (a debt) by working 2 : to lose or get rid of (something) by physical activity
work on[phrasal verb]
1 a work on (something) : to be in the process of making (something), doing (something), etc.
b work on doing (something) : to make an effort to do (something)
The director is working on a new movie.
I worked on this physics problem for three hours.
He is in the garage working on the car.
Scientists are beginning to work on a cure.
2 work on (someone) : to try to influence or persuade (someone) to do something
work out[phrasal verb]
1 : to perform athletic exercises in order to improve your health or physical fitness 2 a : to happen, develop, or end in a desired or successful way b : to happen, develop, or end in a particular way or to have a particular result
Despite some difficulties, everything worked out well.
Things don't always work out the way you want them to.
I'm not sure how the story will work out.
How is your new roommate working out? [=how are things going with your new roommate?]
It will work out (to be) cheaper [=it will be cheaper] if we take the bus instead of the train.
With tax, it worked out at/to just over $115. [=the total amount was just over $115]
work out (something) or work (something) out
3 a : to find or create (something, such as a solution or a plan) by thinking
b : to use mathematics to solve (something)
I'm trying to work out [=figure out] a way to do it.
We worked out a plan to save money.
We'll work the details out later.
I don't know how you're going to get there. You have to work that out for yourself.
4 work (someone) outBritish or work out (someone) : to understand the behavior of (someone)
work over[phrasal verb]
work (someone) overinformal
: 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]
1 work (someone) up : to make (someone) feel very angry, excited, upset, etc.
work up (something) or work (something) up
2 a : to produce (something) by physical or mental effort b chiefly British : to improve your skill at (something) or increase your knowledge of (something) c chiefly British : to develop or expand (something)— usually + into 3 work up to (something) : to reach (something, such as a rate or level) by gradually increasing in speed, intensity, etc.
work your fingers to the bone
work your way
: to move yourself into or out of a particular position slowly or with difficulty
The prisoner somehow worked his way out of the handcuffs.
I worked my way to the center of the crowd.
They started working their way cautiously down the side of the mountain.
— 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.
Learner's definition of WORK
1 a : a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn money
b : the place where you do your job
How is work [=your job] going?
She is trying to find work in publishing.
How long have you been looking for work?
He started work as a car salesman.
I know him through work.
When do you get off work? [=when do you stop working for the day?]
She goes to the gym after work. [=after she has finished working]
She plans to return to work [=start working her job again] in four months.
What line of work is your wife in? = What does your wife do for work?
She didn't come to work today.
He left work a few minutes ago.
She's not here right now. She's at work.
We met at work.
She went out with her friends from work.
2 a : the things that you do especially as part of your job
b : things (such as papers, files, etc.) that you use to do your job
Can you describe your work to the class?
A large part of the work is responding to e-mails.
My brother did the electrical work on the house.
After you finish your work, you can go outside and play.
I have a lot of work to do.
3 a : physical or mental effort that is used to perform a job or achieve a goal
b : the process or activity of working
Getting my PhD took a lot of work, but it was worth it.
Hard work is the key to success.
Careful police work led to the murderer's capture.
She hasn't done any work since she got here.
He plans to start work on a new novel soon.
The rain forced the crew to stop work on the building.
Work on the project is already underway. [=people have started working on the project]
You need to get down to work [=start working] if you want to finish the assignment on time.
She set to work [=started working] on the project immediately.
She diligently went about her work. [=did her work]
He was told to keep up the good work. [=to continue doing good work]
◊ Phrases like good work, nice work, etc., are used to tell people that they have done something very well.
4 a [noncount] : something that is produced or done by someone
b : something (such as a book, song, or painting) that is produced by a writer, musician, artist, etc.
Some clever camera work gave the illusion that she was standing next to him.
The cabinets are the work of a skilled carpenter. [=the cabinets were made by a skilled carpenter]
The robberies were the work of [=were done by] the same gang.
the complete/collected works of Charles Dickens
the painter's latest work
The painting is a work in progress. [=it is not yet finished]
5 works [plural] : roads, bridges, dams, and similar structures: structures that are built by engineers 6 works : a place where industrial labor is done: a factory
7 the works : the moving parts of a machine— sometimes used figuratively 8 the works informal : everything
They ordered a pizza with the works. [=with all the different toppings that were available]
When we went to New York, we visited the museums, did some shopping, saw some shows—the whole works.
9 [noncount], physics : the energy that is used when a force is applied over a given distance
1 a : actively doing work b : doing your regular job 2 : 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 worksinformal
: in the process of being prepared, developed, or completed
make short/quick/light work of
1 : 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.
2 : to finish (something) or defeat (someone) quickly and easily
She made short work of her opponents.
The kids made quick work of the french fries. [=the kids ate the french fries quickly]
He made light work of the problem. [=he solved the problem quickly and easily]
out of work
: without a regular job
The factory closed and left/put 5,000 people out of work.
He has been out of work since January. [=he has not had a job since January]
put/throw a spanner in the works
throw a wrench into the works
Learner's definition of WORK
always used before a noun
1 : suitable to be worn while you are working 3 : of or relating to a person's job
What does your work schedule look like this week?
a 12-hour work shift
There is a place to list your work experience [=the jobs that you have had] on the application.
My parents both had a very strong work ethic. [=a strong belief in the value and importance of work]
She filed for a work permit. [=an official document that shows that a person is allowed to work]