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Webster 1913 Edition


Work

Work

(wûrk)
,
Noun.
[OE.
work
,
werk
,
weorc
, AS.
weorc
,
worc
; akin to OFries.
werk
,
wirk
, OS., D., & G.
werk
, OHG.
werc
,
werah
, Icel. & Sw.
verk
, Dan.
værk
, Goth. ga
waúrki
, Gr.
ἔργον
, ϝ
έργον
, work,
ῥέζειν
to do,
ὄργανον
an instrument,
ὄργια
secret rites, Zend
verez
to work. √145. Cf.
Bulwark
,
Energy
,
Erg
,
Georgic
,
Liturgy
,
Metallurgy
,
Organ
,
Orgy
,
Surgeon
,
Wright
.]
1.
Exertion of strength or faculties; physical or intellectual effort directed to an end; industrial activity; toil; employment; sometimes, specifically, physical labor.
Man hath his daily
work
of body or mind
Appointed.
Milton.
2.
The matter on which one is at work; that upon which one spends labor; material for working upon; subject of exertion; the thing occupying one; business; duty;
as, to take up one’s
work
; to drop one's
work
.
Come on, Nerissa; I have
work
in hand
That you yet know not of.
Shakespeare
In every
work
that he began . . . he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
2 Chron. xxxi. 21.
3.
That which is produced as the result of labor; anything accomplished by exertion or toil; product; performance; fabric; manufacture; in a more general sense, act, deed, service, effect, result, achievement, feat.
To leave no rubs or blotches in the
work
.
Shakespeare
The
work
some praise,
And some the architect.
Milton.
Fancy . . .
Wild
work
produces oft, and most in dreams.
Milton.
The composition or dissolution of mixed bodies . . . is the chief
work
of elements.
Sir K. Digby.
4.
Specifically:
(a)
That which is produced by mental labor; a composition; a book;
as, a
work
, or the
works
, of Addison
.
(b)
Flowers, figures, or the like, wrought with the needle; embroidery.
I am glad I have found this napkin; . . .
I'll have the
work
ta'en out,
And give 't Iago.
Shakespeare
(c)
pl.
Structures in civil, military, or naval engineering, as docks, bridges, embankments, trenches, fortifications, and the like; also, the structures and grounds of a manufacturing establishment;
as, iron
works
; locomotive
works
; gas
works
.
(d)
pl.
The moving parts of a mechanism; as, the works of a watch.
5.
Manner of working; management; treatment;
as, unskillful
work
spoiled the effect
.
Bp. Stillingfleet.
6.
(Mech.)
The causing of motion against a resisting force. The amount of work is proportioned to, and is measured by, the product of the force into the amount of motion along the direction of the force. See
Conservation of energy
, under
Conservation
,
Unit of work
, under
Unit
, also
Foot pound
,
Horse power
,
Poundal
, and
Erg
.
Energy is the capacity of doing
work
. . .
Work
is the transference of energy from one system to another.
Clerk Maxwell.
7.
(Mining)
Ore before it is dressed.
Raymond.
8.
pl.
(Script.)
Performance of moral duties; righteous conduct.
He shall reward every man according to his
works
.
Matt. xvi. 27.
Faith, if it hath not
works
, is dead.
James ii. 17.
Muscular work
(Physiol.)
,
the work done by a muscle through the power of contraction.
To go to work
,
to begin laboring; to commence operations; to contrive; to manage.
“I 'll go another way to work with him.”
Shak.
To set on work
,
to cause to begin laboring; to set to work.
[Obs.]
Hooker.
To set to work
,
to employ; to cause to engage in any business or labor.

Work

(wûrk)
,
Verb.
I.
[
imp. & p. p.
Worked
(wûrkt)
, or
Wrought
(ra̤t)
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Working
.]
[AS.
wyrcean
(imp.
worthe
,
wrohte
, p. p.
geworht
,
gewroht
); akin to OFries.
werka
,
wirka
, OS.
wirkian
, D.
werken
, G.
wirken
, Icel.
verka
,
yrkja
,
orka
, Goth.
waúrkjan
. √145. See
Work
,
Noun.
]
1.
To exert one's self for a purpose; to put forth effort for the attainment of an object; to labor; to be engaged in the performance of a task, a duty, or the like.
O thou good Kent, how shall I live and
work
,
To match thy goodness?
Shakespeare
Go therefore now, and
work
; for there shall no straw be given you.
Ex. v. 18.
Whether we
work
or play, or sleep or wake,
Our life doth pass.
Sir J. Davies.
2.
Hence, in a general sense, to operate; to act; to perform;
as, a machine
works
well
.
We bend to that the
working
of the heart.
Shakespeare
3.
Hence, figuratively, to be effective; to have effect or influence; to conduce.
We know that all things
work
together for good to them that love God.
Rom. viii. 28.
This so
wrought
upon the child, that afterwards he desired to be taught.
Locke.
She marveled how she could ever have been
wrought
upon to marry him.
Hawthorne.
4.
To carry on business; to be engaged or employed customarily; to perform the part of a laborer; to labor; to toil.
They that
work
in fine flax . . . shall be confounded.
Isa. xix. 9.
5.
To be in a state of severe exertion, or as if in such a state; to be tossed or agitated; to move heavily; to strain; to labor;
as, a ship
works
in a heavy sea
.
Confused with
working
sands and rolling waves.
Addison.
6.
To make one's way slowly and with difficulty; to move or penetrate laboriously; to proceed with effort; – with a following preposition, as down, out, into, up, through, and the like;
as, scheme
works
out by degrees; to
work
into the earth
.
Till body up to spirit
work
, in bounds
Proportioned to each kind.
Milton.
7.
To ferment, as a liquid.
The
working
of beer when the barm is put in.
Bacon.
8.
To act or operate on the stomach and bowels, as a cathartic.
Purges . . .
work
best, that is, cause the blood so to do, . . . in warm weather or in a warm room.
Grew.
To work at
,
to be engaged in or upon; to be employed in.
To work to windward
(Naut.)
,
to sail or ply against the wind; to tack to windward.
Mar. Dict.

Work

(wûrk)
,
Verb.
T.
1.
To labor or operate upon; to give exertion and effort to; to prepare for use, or to utilize, by labor.
He could have told them of two or three gold mines, and a silver mine, and given the reason why they forbare to
work
them at that time.
Sir W. Raleigh.
2.
To produce or form by labor; to bring forth by exertion or toil; to accomplish; to originate; to effect;
as, to
work
wood or iron into a form desired, or into a utensil; to
work
cotton or wool into cloth.
Each herb he knew, that
works
or good or ill.
Harte.
3.
To produce by slow degrees, or as if laboriously; to bring gradually into any state by action or motion.
“Sidelong he works his way.”
Milton.
So the pure, limpid stream, when foul with stains
Of rushing torrents and descending rains,
Works
itself clear, and as it runs, refines,
Till by degrees the floating mirror shines.
Addison.
4.
To influence by acting upon; to prevail upon; to manage; to lead.
Work your royal father to his ruin.”
Philips.
5.
To form with a needle and thread or yarn; especially, to embroider;
as, to
work
muslin
.
6.
To set in motion or action; to direct the action of; to keep at work; to govern; to manage;
as, to
work
a machine
.
Knowledge in building and
working
ships.
Arbuthnot.
Now, Marcus, thy virtue's the proof;
Put forth thy utmost strength,
work
every nerve.
Addison.
The mariners all 'gan
work
the ropes,
Where they were wont to do.
Coleridge.
7.
To cause to ferment, as liquor.
To work a passage
(Naut.)
,
to pay for a passage by doing work.
To work double tides
(Naut.)
,
to perform the labor of three days in two; – a phrase which alludes to a practice of working by the night tide as well as by the day.
To work in
,
to insert, introduce, mingle, or interweave by labor or skill.
To work into
,
to force, urge, or insinuate into;
as,
to work
one's self
into
favor or confidence
.
To work off
,
to remove gradually, as by labor, or a gradual process;
as, beer
works off
impurities in fermenting
.
To work out
.
(a)
To effect by labor and exertion.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Phil. ii. 12.
(b)
To erase; to efface.
[R.]

Tears of joy for your returning spilt,
Work out
and expiate our former guilt.
Dryden.
(c)
To solve, as a problem.
(d)
To exhaust, as a mine, by working.
To work up
.
(a)
To raise; to excite; to stir up; as, to work up the passions to rage.
The sun, that rolls his chariot o'er their heads,
Works up
more fire and color in their cheeks.
Addison.
(b)
To expend in any work, as materials; as, they have worked up all the stock.
(c)
(Naut.)
To make over or into something else, as yarns drawn from old rigging, made into spun yarn, foxes, sennit, and the like; also, to keep constantly at work upon needless matters, as a crew in order to punish them.
R. H. Dana, Jr.

Webster 1828 Edition


Work

WORK

,
Verb.
I.
[G., Gr.]
1.
In a general sense, to move, or to move one way and the other; to perform; as in popular language it is said, a mill or machine works well.
2.
To labor; to be occupied in performing manual labor, whether severe or moderate. One man works better than another; one man works hare; another works lazily.
3.
To be in action or motion; as the working of the heart.
4.
To act; to carry on operations.
Our better part remains to work in close design.
5.
To operate; to carry on business; to be customarily engaged or employed in. Some work in the mines, others in the loom, others at the anvil.
They that work in fine flax. Isaiah 19.
6.
To ferment; as, unfermented liquors work violently in hot weather.
7.
To operate; to produce effects by action or influence.
All things work together for good to them that love God. Roman 8.
This so wrought upon the child, that afterwards he desired to be taught.
8.
To obtain by diligence. [Little used.]
9.
To act or operate on the stomach and bowels; as a cathartic.
10.
To labor; to strain; to move heavily; as, a ship works in a tempest.
11.
To be tossed or agitated.
Confusd with working sands and rolling waves.
12.
To enter by working; as, to work into the earth.
To work on, to act on; to influence.
To work up, to make way.
Body shall up to spirit work.
To work tot windward, among seamen, to sail or ply against the wind; to beat.

WORK

,
Verb.
T.
1.
To move; to stir and mix; as, to work mortar.
2.
To form by labor; to mold, shape or manufacture; as, to work wood or iron into a form desired, or into an utensil; to work cotton or wool into cloth.
3.
To bring into any state by action. A foul stream, or new wine or cider, works itself clear.
4.
To influence by acting upon; to manage; to lead.
An work your royal father to his ruin.
5.
To make by action, labor or violence. A stream works a passage or a new channel.
Sidelong he works his way.
6.
To produce by action, labor or exertion.
We might work any effect--only by the unity of nature.
Each herb he knew, that works or good or ill.
7.
To embroider; as, to work muslin.
8.
To direct the movements of, by adapting the sails to the wind; as, to work a ship.
9.
To put to labor; to exert.
Work every nerve.
10.
To cause to ferment, as liquor.
To work out,
1.
To effect by labor and exertion.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2.
2. To expend in any work, as materials. They have worked up all the stock.
To work double tides, in the language of seamen, to perform the labor of three days in two; a phrase taken from the practice f working by the night tide as well as by the day.
To work into, to make way, or to insinuate; as, to work ones self into favor or confidence.
To work a passage, among seamen, to pay for a passage by doing duty on board of the ship.

WORK

,
Noun.
[G., Gr.]
1.
Labor; employment; exertion of strength; particularly in man, manual labor.
2.
State of labor; as, to be at work.
3.
Awkward performance. What work you make!
4.
That which is made or done; as good work, or bad work.
5.
Embroidery; flowers or figures wrought with the needle.
6.
Any fabric or manufacture
7.
The matter on which one is at work. In rising she dropped her work.
8.
Action; deed; feat; achievement; as the works of bloody Mars.
9.
Operation.
As to the composition or dissolution of mixed bodies, which is the chief work of elements--
10.
Effect; that which proceeds from agency.
Fancy wild work produces oft, and most in dreams.
11.
Management; treatment.
12.
That which is produced by mental labor; a composition; a book; as the works of Addison.
13.
Works, in the plural, walls, trenches and the like, made for fortifications.
14.
In theology, moral duties or external performances, as distinct from grace.
To set to work, To set on work, to employ; to engage in any business.

Definition 2021


work

work

See also: -work

English

Alternative forms

  • wuk (nonstandard, AAVE)

Noun

work (countable and uncountable, plural works)

  1. (heading, uncountable) Employment.
    1. Labour, occupation, job.
      My work involves a lot of travel.
      • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
        Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand / That you yet know not of.
      • Bible, 2 Chronicles xxxi. 21
        In every work that he began [] he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 15, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
        Edward Churchill still attended to his work in a hopeless mechanical manner like a sleep-walker who walks safely on a well-known round. But his Roman collar galled him, his cossack stifled him, his biretta was as uncomfortable as a merry-andrew's cap and bells.
    2. The place where one is employed.
      He hasn’t come home yet, he’s still at work.
  2. (heading, uncountable) Effort.
    1. Effort expended on a particular task.
      Holding a brick over your head is hard work. It takes a lot of work to write a dictionary.
    2. Sustained human effort to overcome obstacles and achieve a result.
      We know what we must do. Let's go to work.
    3. Something on which effort is expended.
      There's lots of work waiting for me at the office.
    4. (physics) A measure of energy expended in moving an object; most commonly, force times distance. No work is done if the object does not move.
      Work is done against friction to drag a bag along the ground.
    5. (physics, more generally) A measure of energy that is usefully extracted from a process.
      • 2013 July-August, Lee S. Langston, The Adaptable Gas Turbine”, in American Scientist:
        Turbines have been around for a long time—windmills and water wheels are early examples. The name comes from the Latin turbo, meaning "vortex", and thus the defining property of a turbine is that a fluid or gas turns the blades of a rotor, which is attached to a shaft that can perform useful work.
  3. Sustained effort to achieve a goal or result, especially overcoming obstacles.
    We don't have much time. Let's get to work piling up those sandbags.
    • 1920, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Avery Hopwood, The Bat, chapterI:
      The Bat—they called him the Bat. Like a bat he chose the night hours for his work of rapine; like a bat he struck and vanished, pouncingly, noiselessly; like a bat he never showed himself to the face of the day.
  4. (heading) Product; the result of effort.
    1. (uncountable, often in combination) The result of a particular manner of production.
      There's a lot of guesswork involved.
    2. (uncountable, often in combination) Something produced using the specified material or tool.
      We've got some paperwork to do before we can get started. The piece was decorated with intricate filigree work.
    3. (countable) A literary, artistic, or intellectual production.
      It is a work of art.
      the poetic works of Alexander Pope
      • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
        to leave no rubs or blotches in the work
      • John Milton (1608-1674)
        The work some praise, / And some the architect.
      • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterI:
        “[…] We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic? []
    4. (countable) A fortification.
      William the Conqueror fortified many castles, throwing up new ramparts, bastions and all manner of works.
  5. (uncountable, slang, professional wrestling) The staging of events to appear as real.
  6. (mining) Ore before it is dressed.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Raymond to this entry?)
Synonyms
  • (employment): See also Wikisaurus:occupation
  • (productive activity): See also Wikisaurus:work
Derived terms
Translations

See also

  • (product (combining form)): -ing

Etymology 2

From Old English wyrċan and wircan (Mercian), from Proto-Germanic *wurkijaną (to work), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- (to work). Cognate with Old Frisian werka, wirka, Old Saxon wirkian, Low German warken, Dutch werken, Old High German wurken (German wirken, werken and werkeln), Old Norse yrkja and orka, (Swedish yrka and orka), Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌺𐌾𐌰𐌽 (waurkjan).

Verb

work (third-person singular simple present works, present participle working, simple past and past participle worked or (rare) wrought)

  1. (intransitive) To do a specific task by employing physical or mental powers.
    He’s working in a bar.
    1. Followed by in (or at, etc.) Said of one's workplace (building), or one's department, or one's trade (sphere of business).
      I work in a national park;  she works in the human resources department;  he mostly works in logging, but sometimes works in carpentry
    2. Followed by as. Said of one's job title
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 17, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
        This time was most dreadful for Lilian. Thrown on her own resources and almost penniless, she maintained herself and paid the rent of a wretched room near the hospital by working as a charwoman, sempstress, anything.
      I work as a cleaner.
    3. Followed by for. Said of a company or individual who employs.
      she works for Microsoft;  he works for the president
    4. Followed by with. General use, said of either fellow employees or instruments or clients.
      I work closely with my Canadian counterparts;  you work with computers;  she works with the homeless people from the suburbs
  2. (transitive) To effect by gradual degrees.
    he worked his way through the crowd;  the dye worked its way through;  using some tweezers, she worked the bee sting out of her hand
    • Addison
      So the pure, limpid stream, when foul with stains / Of rushing torrents and descending rains, / Works itself clear, and as it runs, refines, / Till by degrees the floating mirror shines.
  3. (transitive) To embroider with thread.
  4. (transitive) To set into action.
    He worked the levers.
  5. (transitive) To cause to ferment.
  6. (intransitive) To ferment.
    • Francis Bacon
      the working of beer when the barm is put in
  7. (transitive) To exhaust, by working.
    The mine was worked until the last scrap of ore had been extracted.
    • 1774, Edward Long, The History of Jamaica. Or, General Survey of the Antient and Modern State of that Island, volume 2, chapter 11, 240:
      They were told of a ſilver mine, that had been worked by the Spaniards, ſomewhere in the Healthſhire Hills, in St. Catharine; but they were not able to diſcover it.
  8. (transitive) To shape, form, or improve a material.
    He used pliers to work the wire into shape.
  9. (transitive) To operate in a certain place, area, or speciality.
    she works the night clubs;  the salesman works the Midwest;  this artist works mostly in acrylics
  10. (transitive) To operate in or through; as, to work the phones.
  11. (transitive) To provoke or excite; to influence.
    The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy.
  12. (transitive) To use or manipulate to one’s advantage.
    She knows how to work the system.
  13. (transitive) To cause to happen or to occur as a consequence.
    I cannot work a miracle.
  14. (transitive) To cause to work.
    He is working his servants hard.
  15. (intransitive) To function correctly; to act as intended; to achieve the goal designed for.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, The tao of tech”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 48:
      The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about [] and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention. Partly, this is a result of how online advertising has traditionally worked: advertisers pay for clicks, and a click is a click, however it's obtained.
    he pointed at the car and asked, "Does it work"?;  he looked at the bottle of pain pills, wondering if they would work;  my plan didn’t work
  16. (intransitive, figuratively) To influence.
    They worked on her to join the group.
  17. (intransitive) To effect by gradual degrees; as, to work into the earth.
  18. (intransitive) To move in an agitated manner.
    His fingers worked with tension.
    A ship works in a heavy sea.
    • Addison
      confused with working sands and rolling waves
  19. (intransitive) To behave in a certain way when handled;
    this dough does not work easily;  the soft metal works well
  20. (transitive, with two objects, poetic) To cause (someone) to feel (something).
    • 1909, Robert W. Service, The Ballad of One-Eyed Mike”, in Ballads of a Cheechako:
      So sad it seemed, and its cheek-bones gleamed, and its fingers flicked the shore; / And it lapped and lay in a weary way, and its hands met to implore; / That I gently said: “Poor, restless dead, I would never work you woe; / Though the wrong you rue you can ne’er undo, I forgave you long ago.”
  21. (obsolete, intransitive) To hurt; to ache.
Derived terms
Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: say · well · many · #126: work · too · every · think