work1 [ wɜrk ] verb ***
▸ 1 have job
▸ 2 spend time doing something
▸ 3 operate well
▸ 4 have effect
▸ 5 move gradually
▸ 6 shape a substance
▸ 7 do calculation
▸ 8 grow crops on land
▸ 9 dig substances out
1. ) intransitive to have a job, usually one that you are paid to do:
Dominic works part-time.
work with: The instructor is qualified to work with children.
work in: I hope to work in computers when I'm older.
work as: She worked as a journalist.
work for: She works for a big law firm in the city.
a ) transitive if you work a particular area or type of place, you go to that area or to those places as part of your job, for example to try and sell things or to perform there:
He worked the clubs long before TV made him famous.
2. ) intransitive to spend time trying to achieve something, especially when this involves using a great effort:
I've been working in the garden all day.
work on: Our thanks go to everybody who has worked on this project.
work to do something: He worked tirelessly to improve safety conditions in the mines.
a ) intransitive to produce a picture or create an object using a particular type of substance:
work in/with: He works in oils and acrylics, painting mostly landscapes.
b ) transitive to make someone work:
She always works us too hard.
3. ) intransitive to operate in a satisfactory way:
The new telephone system seems to be working perfectly.
This pen doesn't work.
a ) transitive to operate something such as a machine or piece of equipment:
I don't know how to work this thing.
4. ) intransitive to succeed:
If this plan doesn't work, we'll think of something else.
The strategy seems to be working.
a ) to have a particular effect or result:
The drug works by blocking the spread of the virus.
work for/against someone (=have a good/bad result): Criticizing your former employer works against you in an interview.
work in someone's favor/work to someone's advantage (=be an advantage to someone): The exchange rate is currently working in the company's favor.
5. ) intransitive to move gradually from one position to another:
The strap of one of her sandals had worked itself loose.
a ) transitive to put something into a different position or state:
She managed to work one hand free.
work yourself into something: He was slowly working himself into a panic.
6. ) transitive to shape a substance such as metal in a particular way, especially using tools
7. ) transitive AMERICAN to solve a problem in mathematics by doing a calculation:
Some students may be able to work the problems if they are given more time.
8. ) transitive to prepare land and grow crops on it
9. ) transitive if someone works a mine or a QUARRY, they dig substances such as gold or stone out of it
work both ways
if something such as a particular situation or type of behavior works both ways, it has equal advantages and disadvantages for everyone it involves:
We are expected to be very flexible, but that should work both ways.
work for someone SPOKEN
used for saying that you agree with a plan or like a particular idea:
If you don't mind driving, I can read the map. That works for me.
work it INFORMAL
to arrange for something to happen:
I'll try and work it so we can leave early today.
work like magic or work like a charm
to be very successful or have exactly the effect you want
work the system
to do or get what you want despite the rules that make it difficult:
Government workers know how easy it is to work the system.
to be successful or operate successfully
work wonders
to produce an extremely good result, often so good that it is surprising:
A long hot shower worked wonders on my tired muscles.
Jessie has worked wonders with some of these kids.
work your butt off INFORMAL
to work very hard to achieve something
work your fingers to the bone
to work very hard, especially doing something that involves a lot of physical effort
work your way
if you work your way somewhere, you travel there slowly and with difficulty
work your way through school/college
to have a job when you are at school/college in order to help pay for your studies
`work at phrasal verb transitive
work at something to try hard to develop or improve something:
If she works at improving her game, she could be a champion.
work at it: Successful relationships don't just happen. You have to work at them.
,work `in or ,work `into phrasal verb transitive
1. ) to add one thing or idea to another, or include one thing or idea in another:
If you can work in the word objective, that would be good.
work something into something: They work a lot of Brazilian sounds and rhythms into their music.
2. ) to mix one substance completely into another one, usually using your hands
,work `off phrasal verb transitive
1. ) to pay someone what you owe them by doing a job for them instead of giving them money:
They were forced to work off their debts.
2. ) if you work off something such as a feeling or some of your weight, you get rid of it by doing something that involves a great deal of physical activity:
She generally works off her anger by going for a run.
`work on phrasal verb transitive
1. ) work on something to spend time producing or improving something:
He'll have to work on getting fit before the game.
a ) I'm working on it INFORMAL used for saying that you are dealing with something:
Don't worry about that, I'm working on it.
2. ) work on someone to try to influence someone:
We'll have to work on Joey to find out what's going on.
,work `out phrasal verb
1. ) transitive to deal with a problem in a satisfactory way:
We've worked out our differences.
a ) to solve a problem by considering the facts:
I can't work out what to do.
b ) to solve a problem by doing a calculation:
I was born in 1947: you work out my age.
2. ) intransitive to do physical exercise as a way of staying in shape:
He works out at the local gym every day.
3. ) intransitive to be successful or to end in a particular way:
If it doesn't work out, you can always come back here.
4. ) transitive to find a satisfactory way of doing something:
An international peace plan has been worked out.
a ) to decide or agree on something:
The exact details of the event haven't been worked out yet.
We haven't worked out a date for the meeting.
5. ) intransitive to add up to a particular amount:
The mortgage works out to about $660 a month.
a ) used for saying what the actual cost or value of something is when you calculate it
6. ) transitive to understand someone or something:
I can't work him out.
,work `over phrasal verb transitive INFORMAL
work someone over to injure someone severely by hitting them
`work ,through phrasal verb transitive
to deal with something such as a problem or a strong feeling by thinking and talking about it:
He needs to work through some of the guilt he's feeling.
,work `up phrasal verb transitive
1. ) to develop a particular feeling:
We went for a long walk to work up an appetite.
I just can't work up any enthusiasm for this trip.
a ) work yourself up to make yourself feel upset, excited, or nervous:
The kids had worked themselves up to a fever pitch of excitement.
2. ) to develop something:
I'd like you to work up the next set of guidelines.
,work `up to phrasal verb transitive work up to something
1. ) to prepare yourself to do something difficult or to try to prepare someone for bad news:
Are you working up to telling me that you can't pay?
2. ) to develop or increase and reach a particular level
work 2 [ wɜrk ] noun ***
▸ 1 job someone is paid to do
▸ 2 activity needing effort
▸ 3 place someone does their job
▸ 4 something made/done in job
▸ 5 repair etc. operation
1. ) uncount a job that someone is paid to do:
I started work when I was sixteen.
find work (=get a job): Many of the people facing downsizing believe they will never find work again.
a ) the things that you do as part of your job:
Her work will include planting trees and caring for animals.
Employees may take work home if they wish.
b ) the time that someone spends doing their job:
We rehearse for a few hours every day after work.
2. ) uncount activity that involves physical or mental effort:
I know you've got a lot of work to do.
Thank you for all your hard work.
3. ) uncount a place where someone goes to do their job:
I walk to work and take the bus home.
a ) works plural a factory
4. ) uncount something that someone makes or does in their job:
Carol and her subcommittee did some nice work on the document.
piece of work: It's not the best piece of work you've ever done.
a ) count or uncount something produced by a writer, painter, musician, or other artist:
Our final-year students invite you to an exhibition of their work.
work of: This is a minor but moving work of literature.
a study of the life and works of Baudelaire
5. ) uncount the repairing and building of something. You can also talk about works, and this has the same meaning:
There will be no disruption of traffic while the construction work is carried out.
all in a day's work SPOKEN
used for saying that a particular situation or experience is normal for someone although most people would find it difficult or unusual
all work and no play
used about a situation in which someone spends a lot of time working and has no time for other activities
at work
1. ) at the place where you work:
If he's not at home, he must still be at work.
2. ) in the process of doing or making something:
She's currently at work on a book about women in space.
I found it fascinating to watch the young people at work.
3. ) having a particular effect or influence:
You don't know what forces are at work behind the scenes.
get/go/set to work (on something)
to start doing something:
Let's get to work on this right now.
have your work cut out for you
to have a difficult job to do:
We'll have our work cut out for us if we want to maintain sales at this level.
someone who is in work has a job
in the works AMERICAN
being planned or being dealt with:
This legislation has been in the works for six years.
make quick/short work of someone
to defeat an opponent quickly and easily
make quick/short work of something
to deal with something quickly and easily
out of work
Some of us have been out of work for years.
the (whole) works INFORMAL
They ordered cereal, home fries, eggs, and bacon the works.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • work — [wʉrk] n. [ME werk < OE weorc, akin to Ger werk < IE base * werĝ , to do, act > Gr ergon (for * wergon), action, work, organon, tool, instrument] 1. physical or mental effort exerted to do or make something; purposeful activity; labor;… …   English World dictionary

  • Work — (w[^u]rk), n. [OE. work, werk, weorc, AS. weorc, worc; akin to OFries. werk, wirk, OS., D., & G. werk, OHG. werc, werah, Icel. & Sw. verk, Dan. v[ae]rk, Goth. gawa[ u]rki, Gr. e rgon, [digamma]e rgon, work, re zein to do, o rganon an instrument,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Work — may refer to: Human labor: Employment House work Labor (economics), measure of the work done by human beings Manual labor, physical work done by people Wage labor, in which a worker sells their labor and an employer buys it Work (project… …   Wikipedia

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  • Work — (w[^u]rk), v. t. 1. To labor or operate upon; to give exertion and effort to; to prepare for use, or to utilize, by labor. [1913 Webster] He could have told them of two or three gold mines, and a silver mine, and given the reason why they forbare …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • work — [n1] labor, chore assignment, attempt, commission, daily grind*, drudge, drudgery, effort, elbow grease*, endeavor, exertion, functioning, grind, grindstone*, industry, job, moil, muscle, obligation, pains*, performance, production, push, salt… …   New thesaurus

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  • work it — informal phrase to arrange for something to happen I’ll try and work it so we can leave early today. Thesaurus: to make plans or arrangementssynonym Main entry: work * * * ˈwork it/things …   Useful english dictionary

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