works, working, worked
1) VERB People who work have a job, usually one which they are paid to do.

[V prep/adv] Weiner works for the US Department of Transport...

[V prep/adv] I started working in a recording studio...

[V prep/adv] Where do you work?...

[V as n] He worked as a bricklayer's mate...

I want to work, I don't want to be on welfare.

2) N-UNCOUNT: oft in/out of N People who have work or who are in work have a job, usually one which they are paid to do.

Fewer and fewer people are in work...

I was out of work at the time...

She'd have enough money to provide for her children until she could find work...

What kind of work do you do?

3) VERB When you work, you do the things that you are paid or required to do in your job.

I can't talk to you right now - I'm working...

He was working at his desk...

[V n] Some firms expect the guards to work twelve hours a day.

4) N-UNCOUNT Your work consists of the things you are paid or required to do in your job.

We're supposed to be running a business here. I've got work to do...

I used to take work home, but I don't do it any more...

There have been days when I have finished work at 2pm. image of teaching which highlighted the stressful and difficult aspects of the teacher's work.

5) VERB When you work, you spend time and effort doing a task that needs to be done or trying to achieve something.

[V prep] Linda spends all her time working on the garden...

[V prep] While I was working on my letter the telephone rang...

[V prep] Leonard was working at his German. His mistakes made her laugh...

[V prep] The most important reason for coming to university is to work for a degree...

[V prep] The government expressed hope that all the sides will work towards a political solution.

Work is also a noun.

There was a lot of work to do on their house... We knew we would have to organise the wedding but we hadn't appreciated how much work was involved... He said that the peace plan would be rejected because it needed more work.

6) N-UNCOUNT: usu to/at N Work is the place where you do your job.

Many people travel to work by car...

She told her friends at work that she was trying to lose weight.

7) N-UNCOUNT: oft poss/adj N Work is something which you produce as a result of an activity or as a result of doing your job.

It can help to have an impartial third party look over your work...

Tidiness in the workshop is really essential for producing good work...

That's a beautiful piece of work. You should be proud of it.

8) N-COUNT: usu with supp A work is something such as a painting, book, or piece of music produced by an artist, writer, or composer.

In my opinion, this is Rembrandt's greatest work...

Under his arm, there was a book which looked like the complete works of Shakespeare...

The church has several valuable works of art.

9) VERB If someone is working on a particular subject or question, they are studying or researching it.

[V on n] Professor Bonnet has been working for many years on molecules of this type.

Work is also a noun.

Their work shows that one-year-olds are much more likely to have allergies if either parent smokes.

10) VERB If you work with a person or a group of people, you spend time and effort trying to help them in some way.

[V with/among n] She spent a period of time working with people dying of cancer...

[V with/among n] He knew then that he wanted to work among the poor.

N-UNCOUNT: with supp, usu poss N, N with/among n
Work is also a noun.

...a highly respected priest who is noted for his work with the poor... She became involved in social and relief work among the refugees.

11) VERB If a machine or piece of equipment works, it operates and performs a particular function.

The pump doesn't work and we have no running water...

Is the telephone working today?...

[V prep/adv] Ned turned on the lanterns, which worked with batteries...

[V prep/adv] How does the gun work?

12) VERB If an idea, system, or way of doing something works, it is successful, effective, or satisfactory.

95 per cent of these diets do not work...

If lust is all there is to hold you together, the relationship will never work...

I shouldn't have come, I knew it wouldn't work...

[V adv] A methodical approach works best.

13) VERB If a drug or medicine works, it produces a particular physical effect.

I wake at 6am as the sleeping pill doesn't work for more than nine hours...

[V prep/adv] The drug works by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.

14) VERB If something works in your favour, it helps you in some way. If something works to your disadvantage, it causes problems for you in some way.

[V prep] One factor thought to have worked in his favour is his working class image...

[V prep] This obviously works against the interests of the child.

15) VERB If something or someone works their magic or works their charms on a person, they have a powerful positive effect on them.

[V n on n] Nevertheless, she is always optimistic about the possibilities and can work her charm on the disenchanted...

[V n] Our spirits rallied as the bitter-sweet alcohol worked its magic.

16) VERB If your mind or brain is working, you are thinking about something or trying to solve a problem.

My mind was working frantically, running over the events of the evening.

17) VERB If you work on an assumption or idea, you act as if it were true or base other ideas on it, until you have more information.

[V on n] We are working on the assumption that it was a gas explosion.

18) VERB If you work a particular area or type of place, you travel around that area or work in those places as part of your job, for example trying to sell something there.

[V n] Brand has been working the clubs and the pubs since 1986, developing her comedy act...

[V n] This is the seventh year that he has worked the streets of Manhattan.

19) VERB If you work someone, you make them spend time and effort doing a particular activity or job.

[V n adv/prep] They're working me too hard. I'm too old for this...

[V n adv/prep] They didn't take my father away, but kept him in the village and worked him to death. [Also V n]

20) VERB If someone, often a politician or entertainer, works a crowd, they create a good relationship with the people in the crowd and get their support or interest.

[V n] The Prime Minister has an ability to work a crowd - some might even suggest it is a kind of charm...

[V n] He worked the room like a politician, gripping hands, and slapping backs.

21) VERB When people work the land, they do all the tasks involved in growing crops.

[V n] Farmers worked the fertile valleys.

22) VERB When a mine is worked, minerals such as coal or gold are removed from it.

[be V-ed] The mines had first been worked in 1849, when gold was discovered in California...

[V n] Only an agreed number of men was allowed to work any given seam at any given time.

23) VERB If you work a machine or piece of equipment, you use or control it.

[V n] Many adults still depend on their children to work the video.

24) VERB If something works into a particular state or condition, it gradually moves so that it is in that state or condition.

[V adj] It's important to put a locking washer on that last nut, or it can work loose.

25) VERB If you work a substance such as dough or clay, you keep pressing it to make it have a particular texture.

[V n] Work the dough with the palm of your hand until it is very smooth...

[V n prep/adv] Remove rind from the cheese and work it to a firm paste, with a fork.

26) VERB If you work a material such as metal, leather, or stone, you cut, sew, or shape it in order to make something or to create a design.

[V n] ...the machines needed to extract and work the raw stone.

[V-ed] ...a long, cool tunnel of worked stone.

27) VERB If you work with a particular substance or material, you use it in order to make something or to create a design.

[V with/in n] He studied sculpture because he enjoyed working with clay.

28) V-ERG If you work a part of your body, or if it works, you move it.

[V n] Each position will work the muscles in a different way...

Her mouth was working in her sleep.

29) N-COUNT-COLL: usu n N, N n A works is a place where something is manufactured or where an industrial process is carried out. Works is used to refer to one or to more than one of these places.

The steel works, one of the landmarks of Stoke-on-Trent, could be seen for miles.

...a recycling works.

...the works canteen.

30) N-PLURAL: usu supp N Works are activities such as digging the ground or building on a large scale.

...six years of disruptive building works, road construction and urban development.

31) N-SING: the N (emphasis) You can say the works after listing things such as someone's possessions or requirements, to emphasize that they possess or require everything you can think of in a particular category. [INFORMAL]

Amazing place he's got there - squash courts, swimming pool, jacuzzi, the works.

the lot
32) See also working
33) PHRASE: usu v-link PHR If someone is at work they are doing their job or are busy doing a particular activity.

The salvage teams are already hard at work trying to deal with the spilled oil...

He is currently at work on a novel...

Television cameras were invited in to film him at work.

34) PHRASE: usu v-link PHR If a force or process is at work, it is having a particular influence or effect.

The report suggested that the same trend was at work in politics...

It is important to understand the powerful economic and social forces at work behind our own actions.

35) PHRASE: V inflects, oft PHR for n, PHR to-inf If you say that you will have your work cut out to do something, you mean that it will be a very difficult task.

The new administration has its work cut out for it. Creating jobs in this kind of environment is not going to be easy...

He will have his work cut out to get into the team.

36) PHRASE: usu n PHR, v-link PHR If something is in the works, it has already been planned or begun. [mainly AM]

He said there were dozens of economic plans in the works...

Nobody should be surprised by this. It's been in the works for some time.

(in BRIT, usually use in the pipeline)
37) PHRASE: V inflects, PHR -ing/n You can use work to talk about how easily or quickly a particular task is done. For example, if a person or thing makes short work of doing something or makes light work of it, they do it quickly and easily.

An aerosol spray will make short work of painting awkward objects...

This horse made light work of the cross-country course...

Australia made hard work of beating them.

38) PHRASE: usu v-link PHR If you describe someone as a nasty piece of work, you think they are very unpleasant or cruel. [mainly BRIT, INFORMAL]

Underneath I think he's actually a rather nasty piece of work.

39) PHRASE: V inflects, oft PHR prep, PHR -ing If you put someone to work or set them to work, you give them a job or task to do.

By stimulating the economy, we're going to put people to work...

Instead of sending them to prison, we have set them to work helping the lemon growers.

40) PHRASE: V inflects, oft PHR on n If you get to work, go to work, or set to work on a job, task, or problem, you start doing it or dealing with it.

He promised to get to work on the state's massive deficit...

He returned to America where he set to work on a new novel.

41) PHRASE: V inflects, PHR prep/adv If you work your way somewhere, you move or progress there slowly, and with a lot of effort or work.

Rescuers were still working their way towards the trapped men...

Many personnel managers started as secretaries or personnel assistants and worked their way up.

42) CONVENTION (formulae) You can say to someone `nice work' or `good work' in order to thank or praise them for doing something well or quickly.

Nice work, Matthew. I knew you could do it.

43) to throw a spanner in the workssee spanner
Phrasal Verbs:

English dictionary. 2008.


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

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  • 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 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