Work Definition

Define what is Work?

1. work (noun)

activity directed toward making or doing something.

  • she checked several points needing further work.

activity noun
any specific behavior.


lavation, washing, wash noun
the work of cleansing (usually with soap and water).

action noun
the most important or interesting work or activity in a specific area or field.

Job noun
a damaging piece of work.

Job noun
the performance of a piece of work.

procedure, operation noun
a process or series of acts especially of a practical or mechanical nature involved in a particular form of work.

Service noun
work done by one person or group that benefits another.

polishing, shining noun
the work of making something smooth and shiny by rubbing or waxing it.

heavy lifting noun
difficult work.

housewifery noun
the work of a housewife.

housekeeping, housework noun
the work of cleaning and running a house.

ironing noun
the work of using heat to smooth washed clothes in order to remove any wrinkles.

busywork, make-work noun
active work of little value.

logging noun
the work of cutting down trees for timber.

loose end, unfinished business noun
work that is left incomplete.

nightwork noun
work to be done at night.

paperwork noun
work that involves handling papers: forms or letters or reports etc..

social service, welfare work noun
an organized activity to improve the condition of disadvantaged people in society.

toil, Labor, Labour noun
productive work (especially physical work done for wages).

subbing, substituting noun
working as a substitute for someone who is ill or on leave of absence.

investigating, investigation noun
the work of inquiring into something thoroughly and systematically.

care, tending, attention, aid noun
the work of providing treatment for or attending to someone or something.

duty noun
work that you are obliged to perform for moral or legal reasons.

missionary work, mission noun
the organized work of a religious missionary.

spadework noun
dull or routine preliminary work preparing for an undertaking.

timework noun
work paid for at a rate per unit of time.

project, task, undertaking, Labor noun
any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted.

coursework noun
work assigned to and done by a student during a course of study; usually it is evaluated as part of the student's grade in the course.

2. work (verb)

exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity.

  • I will work hard to improve my grades.
  • she worked hard for better living conditions for the poor.
Antonyms: laze, idle, slug, stagnate (verb)

be idle; exist in a changeless situation.


run through, work through, go through verb
apply thoroughly; think through.

mess around, monkey around, muck about, muck around, potter, tinker, monkey, putter verb
do random, unplanned work or activities or spend time idly.

carpenter verb
work as a carpenter.

clerk verb
work as a clerk, as in the legal business.

Page verb
work as a page.

waitress, wait verb
serve as a waiter or waitress in a restaurant.

pull one's weight verb
do one's share in a common task.

electioneer verb
work actively for a political candidate or a party.

assist verb
act as an assistant in a subordinate or supportive function.

Beaver, beaver away verb
work hard on something.

work at, work on verb
to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something.

keep one's nose to the grindstone, keep one's shoulder to the wheel, peg away, plug away, slog verb
work doggedly or persistently.

busy, occupy verb
keep busy with.

collaborate, cooperate, join forces, get together verb
work together on a common enterprise of project.

Volunteer verb
do volunteer work.

specialise, specialize verb
devote oneself to a special area of work.

minister verb
work as a minister.

intern verb
work as an intern.

skipper verb
work as the skipper on a vessel.

boondoggle verb
do useless, wasteful, or trivial work.

scant, skimp verb
work hastily or carelessly; deal with inadequately and superficially.

whore verb
work as a prostitute.

serve verb
devote (part of) one's life or efforts to, as of countries, institutions, or ideas.

work verb
operate in a certain place, area, or specialty.

3. do work, work (verb)

be employed.

  • Is your husband working again?.
  • My wife never worked.
  • Do you want to work after the age of 60?.
  • She never did any work because she inherited a lot of money.
  • She works as a waitress to put herself through college.
Synonyms: do work

serve verb
do duty or hold offices; serve in a specific function.

bank verb
be in the banking business.

fill, occupy, take verb
assume, as of positions or roles.

drive verb
work as a driver.

tinker verb
work as a tinker or tinkerer.

serve verb
do military service.

blackleg, fink, scab, rat verb
take the place of work of someone on strike.

drudge, Labour, moil, toil, travail, fag, Labor, dig, grind verb
work hard.

farm verb
be a farmer; work as a farmer.

moonlight verb
work a second job, usually after hours.

Job verb
work occasionally.

Man verb
take charge of a certain job; occupy a certain work place.

break one's back, buckle down, knuckle down, slave verb
work very hard, like a slave.

subcontract verb
work under a subcontract; engage in a subcontract.

turn a trick verb
have a customer, of a prostitute.

freelance verb
work independently and on temporary contracts rather than for a long-term employer.

4. piece of work, work (noun)

a product produced or accomplished through the effort or activity or agency of a person or thing.

  • it is not regarded as one of his more memorable works.
  • the symphony was hailed as an ingenious work.
  • he was indebted to the pioneering work of John Dewey.
  • the work of an active imagination.
  • erosion is the work of wind or water over time.
Synonyms: piece of work

product, production noun
an artifact that has been created by someone or some process.


follow-up, followup noun
a piece of work that exploits or builds on earlier work.

handcraft, handicraft, handiwork, handwork noun
a work produced by hand labor.

ironwork noun
work made of iron (gratings or rails or railings etc).

lacework noun
work consisting of (or resembling) lace fabric.

lacquerware noun
a decorative work made of wood and covered with lacquer and often inlaid with ivory or precious metals.

leatherwork noun
work made of leather.

chef-d'oeuvre, masterpiece noun
the most outstanding work of a creative artist or craftsman.

metalwork noun
the metal parts of something.

openwork noun
ornamental work (such as embroidery or latticework) having a pattern of openings.

polychrome noun
a piece of work composed of or decorated in many colors.

silverwork noun
decorative work made of silver.

caning, wickerwork, wicker noun
work made of interlaced slender branches (especially willow branches).

woodwork noun
work made of wood; especially moldings or stairways or furniture.

work in progress noun
a piece of work that is not yet finished.

workpiece noun
work consisting of a piece of metal being machined.

publication noun
a copy of a printed work offered for distribution.

5. work, act (verb)

have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected.

  • The voting process doesn't work as well as people thought.
  • How does your idea work in practice?.
  • This method doesn't work.
  • The breaks of my new car act quickly.
  • The medicine works only if you take it with a lot of water.
Synonyms: act

bring home the bacon, deliver the goods, succeed, come through, win verb
attain success or reach a desired goal.

6. employment, work (noun)

the occupation for which you are paid.

  • he is looking for employment.
  • a lot of people are out of work.
Synonyms: employment

Job, line of work, occupation, business, line noun
the principal activity in your life that you do to earn money.


coaching, coaching job noun
the job of a professional coach.

booking, engagement noun
employment for performers or performing groups that lasts for a limited period of time.

ministry noun
the work of a minister of religion.

sailing, seafaring, navigation noun
the work of a sailor.

work load, workload noun
work that a person is expected to do in a specified time.

piecework noun
work paid for according to the quantity produced.

Service noun
employment in or work for another.

telecommuting, teleworking noun
employment at home while communicating with the workplace by phone or fax or modem.

services noun
performance of duties or provision of space and equipment helpful to others.

public service noun
employment within a government system (especially in the civil service).

paper route noun
the job of delivering newspapers regularly.

7. study, work (noun)

applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject (especially by reading).

  • mastering a second language requires a lot of work.
  • no schools offer graduate study in interior design.
Synonyms: study

learning, acquisition noun
the cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge.

8. function, operate, work, run, go (verb)

perform as expected when applied.

  • The washing machine won't go unless it's plugged in.
  • Does this old car still run well?.
  • This old radio doesn't work anymore.
Synonyms: function, operate, run, go
Antonyms: malfunction, misfunction (verb)

fail to function or function improperly.


double verb
do double duty; serve two purposes or have two functions.

roll verb
begin operating or running.

run verb
be operating, running or functioning.

cut verb
function as a cutting instrument.

Service, serve verb
be used by; as of a utility.

9. work (noun)

(physics) a manifestation of energy; the transfer of energy from one physical system to another expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which it moves a body in the direction of that force.

  • work equals force times distance.

Energy, free energy noun
(physics) a thermodynamic quantity equivalent to the capacity of a physical system to do work; the units of energy are joules or ergs.

10. work on, work, process (verb)

shape, form, or improve a material.

  • work stone into tools.
  • process iron.
  • work the metal.
Synonyms: work on, process

transform, transmute, transubstantiate verb
change or alter in form, appearance, or nature.


hot-work verb
roll, press, forge, or shape (metal) while hot.

cold work, coldwork verb
shape (metal) without heat.

overwork verb
use too much.

make over, retread, rework verb
use again in altered form.

rack verb
work on a rack.

tool verb
work with a tool.

till verb
work land as by ploughing, harrowing, and manuring, in order to make it ready for cultivation.

11. workplace, work (noun)

a place where work is done.

  • he arrived at work early today.
Synonyms: workplace

geographic point, geographical point noun
a point on the surface of the Earth.


bakehouse, bakery, bakeshop noun
a workplace where baked goods (breads and cakes and pastries) are produced or sold.

beehive noun
any workplace where people are very busy.

brokerage house, brokerage noun
place where a broker conducts his business.

central, telephone exchange, exchange noun
a workplace that serves as a telecommunications facility where lines from telephones can be connected together to permit communication.

colliery, pit noun
a workplace consisting of a coal mine plus all the buildings and equipment connected with it.

creamery noun
a workplace where dairy products (butter and cheese etc.) are produced or sold.

drill site noun
workplace that is the site of a drill hole.

exchange noun
a workplace for buying and selling; open only to members.

farm noun
workplace consisting of farm buildings and cultivated land as a unit.

fishery, piscary noun
a workplace where fish are caught and processed and sold.

fish farm noun
a workplace (usually a pond) where fish are raised for food.

smithy, forge noun
a workplace where metal is worked by heating and hammering.

gasworks noun
the workplace where coal gas is manufactured.

glassworks noun
a workplace where glass is made.

ironworks noun
the workplace where iron is smelted or where iron goods are made.

Job noun
a workplace; as in the expression.

lab, laboratory, research lab, research laboratory, science lab, science laboratory noun
a workplace for the conduct of scientific research.

laundry noun
workplace where clothes are washed and ironed.

location noun
a workplace away from a studio at which some or all of a movie may be made.

lumberyard noun
a workplace where lumber is stocked for sale.

oyster bank, oyster bed, oyster park noun
a workplace where oysters are bred and grown.

proving ground noun
a workplace for testing new equipment or ideas.

rope yard, ropewalk noun
workplace consisting of a long narrow path or shed where rope is made.

roundhouse noun
workplace consisting of a circular building for repairing locomotives.

shipyard noun
a workplace where ships are built or repaired.

shop floor noun
workplace consisting of the part of a factory housing the machines.

studio noun
workplace for the teaching or practice of an art.

studio noun
workplace consisting of a room or building where movies or television shows or radio programs are produced and recorded.

tannery noun
workplace where skins and hides are tanned.

test bed noun
a place equipped with instruments for testing (e.g. engines or machinery or computer programs etc.) under working conditions.

waterworks noun
workplace where water is stored and purified and distributed for a community.

workshop, shop noun
small workplace where handcrafts or manufacturing are done.

12. exercise, work, work out (verb)

give a workout to.

  • Some parents exercise their infants.
  • My personal trainer works me hard.
  • work one's muscles.
  • this puzzle will exercise your mind.
Synonyms: exercise, work out

put to work, work verb
cause to work.


warm up verb
cause to do preliminary exercises so as to stretch the muscles.

13. body of work, oeuvre, work (noun)

the total output of a writer or artist (or a substantial part of it).

  • he studied the entire Wagnerian oeuvre.
  • Picasso's work can be divided into periods.
Synonyms: body of work, oeuvre

end product, output noun
final product; the things produced.


writing noun
(usually plural) the collected work of an author.

14. work, make (verb)

proceed along a path.

  • work one's way through the crowd.
  • make one's way into the forest.
Synonyms: make

go across, pass, go through verb
go across or through.


claw verb
move as if by clawing, seizing, or digging.

jostle verb
make one's way by jostling, pushing, or shoving.

bushwhack verb
cut one's way through the woods or bush.

15. work (verb)

operate in a certain place, area, or specialty.

  • She works the night clubs.
  • The salesman works the Midwest.
  • This artist works mostly in acrylics.

work verb
exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity.

16. work (verb)

proceed towards a goal or along a path or through an activity.

  • work your way through every problem or task.
  • She was working on her second martini when the guests arrived.
  • Start from the bottom and work towards the top.

go, proceed, move verb
follow a procedure or take a course.

17. work (verb)

move in an agitated manner.

  • His fingers worked with tension.

move, displace verb
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense.

18. make for, wreak, bring, work, play (verb)

cause to happen or to occur as a consequence.

  • I cannot work a miracle.
  • wreak havoc.
  • bring comments.
  • play a joke.
  • The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area.
Synonyms: make for, wreak, bring, play

create, make verb
make or cause to be or to become.

19. put to work, work (verb)

cause to work.

  • he is working his servants hard.
Synonyms: put to work

apply, employ, use, utilise, utilize verb
put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose.


exercise, work, work out verb
give a workout to.

warm up verb
cause to do preliminary exercises so as to stretch the muscles.

cybernate, computerise, computerize verb
control a function, process, or creation by a computer.

rack verb
put on a rack and pinion.

overwork, exploit verb
work excessively hard.

20. crop, cultivate, work (verb)

prepare for crops.

  • Work the soil.
  • cultivate the land.
Synonyms: crop, cultivate

gear up, prepare, ready, Set, fix, set up verb
make ready or suitable or equip in advance for a particular purpose or for some use, event, etc.


overcrop, overcultivate verb
to exhaust by excessive cultivation.

21. work (verb)

behave in a certain way when handled.

  • This dough does not work easily.
  • The soft metal works well.

Be verb
have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun).

22. act upon, influence, work (verb)

have and exert influence or effect.

  • The artist's work influenced the young painter.
  • She worked on her friends to support the political candidate.
Synonyms: act upon, influence

affect, bear upon, bear on, impact, touch on, touch verb
have an effect upon.


prejudice, prepossess verb
influence (somebody's) opinion in advance.

imprint, form verb
establish or impress firmly in the mind.

militate verb
have force or influence; bring about an effect or change.

manipulate, pull strings, pull wires verb
influence or control shrewdly or deviously.

colour, color verb
modify or bias.

swing over, swing verb
influence decisively.

blackjack, blackmail, pressure verb
exert pressure on someone through threats.

persuade, sway, carry verb
win approval or support for.

get at verb
influence by corruption.

fix verb
influence an event or its outcome by illegal means.

dominate verb
be in control.

23. work (verb)

operate in or through.

  • Work the phones.

operate, run verb
direct or control; projects, businesses, etc..

24. work (verb)

cause to operate or function.

  • This pilot works the controls.
  • Can you work an electric drill?.

handle, manage, care, deal verb
be in charge of, act on, or dispose of.

25. work (verb)

provoke or excite.

  • The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy.

excite, stir, stimulate verb
stir feelings in.

26. work (verb)

gratify and charm, usually in order to influence.

  • the political candidate worked the crowds.

27. SHAPE, mould, mold, form, forge, work (verb)

make something, usually for a specific function.

  • She molded the rice balls carefully.
  • Form cylinders from the dough.
  • shape a figure.
  • Work the metal into a sword.
Synonyms: SHAPE, mould, mold, form, forge

carve verb
form by carving.

swage, upset verb
form metals with a swage.

chip verb
form by chipping.

layer verb
make or form a layer.

cut out verb
form and create by cutting out.

machine verb
turn, shape, mold, or otherwise finish by machinery.

grind verb
shape or form by grinding.

stamp verb
form or cut out with a mold, form, or die.

puddle verb
subject to puddling or form by puddling.

beat verb
shape by beating.

preform verb
form or shape beforehand or determine the shape of beforehand.

preform verb
form into a shape resembling the final, desired one.

mound verb
form into a rounded elevation.

Hill verb
form into a hill.

roughcast verb
shape roughly.

remold, reshape verb
shape again or shape differently.

sinter verb
cause (ores or powdery metals) to become a coherent mass by heating without melting.

mould, mold, cast verb
form by pouring (e.g., wax or hot metal) into a cast or mold.

throw verb
make on a potter's wheel.

hand-build, handbuild, coil verb
make without a potter's wheel.

sculpt, sculpture verb
create by shaping stone or wood or any other hard material.

mold, mould, model verb
form in clay, wax, etc.

28. work (verb)

move into or onto.

  • work the raisins into the dough.
  • the student worked a few jokes into his presentation.
  • work the body onto the flatbed truck.

move, displace verb
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense.


stir verb
mix or add by stirring.

29. knead, work (verb)

make uniform.

  • knead dough.
  • work the clay until it is soft.
Synonyms: knead

manipulate verb
hold something in one's hands and move it.


proof verb
knead to reach proper lightness.

masticate verb
grind and knead.

30. exploit, work (verb)

use or manipulate to one's advantage.

  • He exploit the new taxation system.
  • She knows how to work the system.
  • he works his parents for sympathy.
Synonyms: exploit

apply, employ, use, utilise, utilize verb
put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose.


make hay verb
turn to one's advantage.

play verb
use to one's advantage.

avail, help verb
take or use.

prey, feed verb
profit from in an exploitatory manner.

use verb
seek or achieve an end by using to one's advantage.

31. figure out, puzzle out, solve, lick, work out, work (verb)

find the solution to (a problem or question) or understand the meaning of.

  • did you solve the problem?.
  • Work out your problems with the boss.
  • this unpleasant situation isn't going to work itself out.
  • did you get it?.
  • Did you get my meaning?.
  • He could not work the math problem.

understand verb
know and comprehend the nature or meaning of.


answer, resolve verb
understand the meaning of.

riddle verb
explain a riddle.

strike verb
arrive at after reckoning, deliberating, and weighing.

guess, infer verb
guess correctly; solve by guessing.

answer verb
give the correct answer or solution to.

break verb
find the solution or key to.

32. ferment, work (verb)

cause to undergo fermentation.

  • We ferment the grapes for a very long time to achieve high alcohol content.
  • The vintner worked the wine in big oak vats.
Synonyms: ferment

convert verb
change the nature, purpose, or function of something.


vinify verb
convert a juice into wine by fermentation.

33. sour, ferment, turn, work (verb)

go sour or spoil.

  • The milk has soured.
  • The wine worked.
  • The cream has turned--we have to throw it out.
Synonyms: sour, ferment, turn

change state, turn verb
undergo a transformation or a change of position or action.

34. work (verb)

arrive at a certain condition through repeated motion.

  • The stitches of the hem worked loose after she wore the skirt many times.

become, get, go verb
enter or assume a certain state or condition.

Nearby Terms

work animal (noun)
an animal trained for and used for heavy labor

work at (verb)
to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something

work bench (noun)
a strong worktable for a carpenter or mechanic

work camp (noun)
a camp for trustworthy prisoners employed in government projects

work day (noun)
a day on which work is done

work flow (noun)
progress (or rate of progress) in work being done

work force (noun)
the force of workers available

work in (verb)
add by mixing or blending on or attaching

work in progress (noun)
a piece of work that is not yet finished

work load (noun)
work that a person is expected to do in a specified time

work of art (noun)
art that is a product of one of the fine arts (especially a painting or sculpture of artistic merit)

work off (verb)
cause to go away through effort or work

work on (verb)
to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something

work out (verb)
come up with

work over (verb)
give a beating to; subject to a beating, either as a punishment or as an act of aggression