work ( works plural & 3rd person present) ( working present participle) ( worked past tense & past participle )
1 verb People who work have a job, usually one which they are paid to do.
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 prep/adv
He worked as a bricklayer's mate... V as n
I want to work, I don't want to be on welfare. V
2 n-uncount People who have work or who are in work have a job, usually one which they are paid to do.
oft in/out of N
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...
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<endash>I'm working... V
He was working at his desk... V
Some firms expect the guards to work twelve hours a day. V n
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.
5 verb When you work, you spend time and effort doing a task that needs to be done or trying to achieve something.
Linda spends all her time working on the garden... 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. V prep
Work is also a noun., n-uncount
There was a lot of work to do on their house..., We hadn't appreciated how much work was involved in organizing a wedding...
6 n-uncount Work is the place where you do your job.
usu to/at N
Many people travel to work by car..., She told her friends at work that she was trying to lose weight.
7 n-uncount Work is something which you produce as a result of an activity or as a result of doing your job.
oft poss/adj N
It can help to have an impartial third party look over your work..., Tidiness in the workshop is really essential for producing good work...
8 n-count A work is something such as a painting, book, or piece of music produced by an artist, writer, or composer.
usu with supp
In my opinion, this is Rembrandt's greatest work...
9 verb If someone is working on a particular subject or question, they are studying or researching it.
Professor Bonnet has been working for many years on molecules of this type. V on n
Work is also a noun., n-uncount
Their work shows that one-year-olds are much more likely to have allergies if either parent smokes.
10 verb If you workwith a person or a group of people, you spend time and effort trying to help them in some way.
She spent a period of time working with people dying of cancer... V with/among n
Work is also a noun., n-uncount with supp, usu poss N, N with/among n
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... V
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... V
A methodical approach works best. V adv
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
The drug works by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. V prep/adv
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.
One factor thought to have worked in his favour is his working class image... V prep
15 verb If something or someone works their magic or works their charms on a person, they have a powerful positive effect on them.
Nevertheless, she is always optimistic about the possibilities and can work her charm on the disenchanted... V n on n
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. V
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.
We are working on the assumption that it was a gas explosion. V on n
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.
Brand has been working the clubs and the pubs since 1986, developing her comedy act... V n
19 verb If you work someone, you make them spend time and effort doing a particular activity or job.
They're working me too hard. I'm too old for this... V n adv/prep
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.
The Prime Minister has an ability to work a crowd<endash>some might even suggest it is a kind of charm... V n
21 verb When people work the land, they do all the tasks involved in growing crops.
Farmers worked the fertile valleys. V n
22 verb When a mine is worked, minerals such as coal or gold are removed from it.
The mines had first been worked in 1849, when gold was discovered in California... be V-ed
23 verb If you work a machine or piece of equipment, you use or control it.
Many adults still depend on their children to work the video. V n
24 verb If something works into a particular state or condition, it gradually moves so that it is in that state or condition.
A screw had worked loose from my glasses. V adj
25 verb If you work a substance such as dough or clay, you keep pressing it to make it have a particular texture.
Work the dough with the palm of your hand until it is very smooth... V n
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.
...the machines needed to extract and work the raw stone. V n
27 verb If you work a part of your body, or if it works, you move it.
Each position will work the muscles in a different way... V n
Her mouth was working in her sleep. V
28 n-count-coll 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.
usu n N, N n
The steel works could be seen for miles.
29 n-plural Works are activities such as digging the ground or building on a large scale.
usu supp N
...six years of disruptive building works, road construction and urban development.
31 If someone is at work they are doing their job or are busy doing a particular activity.
at work phrase usu v-link PHR
The salvage teams are already hard at work trying to deal with the spilled oil..., Television cameras were invited in to film him at work.
32 If a force or process is at work, it is having a particular influence or effect.
at work phrase usu v-link PHR
It is important to understand the powerful economic and social forces at work behind our own actions.
33 If you say that you will have your work cut outto do something, you mean that it will be a very difficult task.
to have your work cut out phrase V inflects, oft PHR for n, PHR to-inf
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.
34 If something is in the works, it has already been planned or begun.
in the works phrase usu n PHR, v-link PHR
He said there were dozens of economic plans in the works...
in BRIT, usually use in the pipeline
35 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.
to make short/light/heavy/easy/quick work of sth phrase V inflects, PHR -ing/n
An aerosol spray will make short work of painting awkward objects..., This horse made light work of the cross-country course...
36 If you put someone to work or set them to work, you give them a job or task to do.
to put/set sb to work phrase V inflects, oft PHR prep, PHR -ing
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.
37 If you get to work, go to work, or set to workon a job, task, or problem, you start doing it or dealing with it.
get/go/set to work phrase V inflects, oft PHR on n
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.
38 If you work your way somewhere, you move or progress there slowly, and with a lot of effort or work.
to work your way swh phrase V inflects, PHR prep/adv
Rescuers were still working their way towards the trapped men..., Many personnel managers started as secretaries or personnel assistants and worked their way up.
to throw a spanner in the works
spanner work in , work into phrasal verb If you work one substance into another or work it in, you add it to the other substance and mix the two together thoroughly.
Gradually pour the liquid into the flour, working it in carefully with a wooden spoon... V n P
Work in the potato and milk until the mixture comes together... V P n (not pron)
Work the oil gradually into the yolks with a wooden spoon. V n P n work off
1 phrasal verb If you work off energy, stress, or anger, you get rid of it by doing something that requires a lot of physical effort.
She went for a brisk walk to work off her frustration... V P n (not pron)
If I've had a bad day I'll work it off by cooking. V n P
2 phrasal verb If you work off a debt, you repay it by working.
The report proposes that students be allowed to work off their debt through community service... V P n (not pron)
There were heavy debts. It would take half Edward's lifetime to work them off. V n P work out
1 phrasal verb If you work out a solution to a problem or mystery, you manage to find the solution by thinking or talking about it.
Negotiators are due to meet later today to work out a compromise... V P n (not pron)
It took me some time to work out what was causing this... V P wh
`How will you contact me?'—`We haven't worked that out yet.' V n P If you have something all worked out, you have thought about it carefully, and know exactly what you are going to do or exactly what you want.
to have sth all worked out phrase have inflects
I had the ideal man all worked out in my mind.
2 phrasal verb If you work out the answer to a mathematical problem, you calculate it.
It is proving hard to work out the value of bankrupt firms' assets... V P n (not pron)
When asked what a £40.35 meal for five people would cost each diner, they were unable to work it out. V n P
3 phrasal verb If something works outat a particular amount, it is calculated to be that amount after all the facts and figures have been considered.
The price per pound works out at £3.20... V P at amount
It will probably work out cheaper to hire a van and move your own things. V P adj
4 phrasal verb If a situation works out well or works out, it happens or progresses in a satisfactory way.
Things just didn't work out as planned... V P prep/adv
One of the ways people experience loss is when relationships don't work out. V P
5 phrasal verb If a process worksitselfout, it reaches a conclusion or satisfactory end.
People involved in it think it's a nightmare, but I'm sure it will work itself out. V pron-refl P
6 phrasal verb If you work out your service or your notice, you continue to work at your job until you have completed a specified period of time.
There was an interim before her successor actually came because she had to work out her notice. V P n (not pron), Also V n P
7 phrasal verb If you work out, you do physical exercises in order to make your body fit and strong.
Work out at a gym or swim twice a week. V P
1 phrasal verb If you workyourselfup, you make yourself feel very upset or angry about something.
She worked herself up into a bit of a state... V pron-refl P into/to n
Don't just lie there working yourself up, do something about it. V pron-refl P
2 phrasal verb If you work up the enthusiasm or courage to do something, you succeed in making yourself feel it.
Your creative talents can also be put to good use, if you can work up the energy... V P n (not pron)
3 phrasal verb If you work up a sweat or an appetite, you make yourself sweaty or hungry by doing exercise or hard work.
You can really work up a sweat doing housework... V P n (not pron)
4 phrasal verb If you work up something such as a piece of writing, you spend time and effort preparing it. I sketched the layout of a prototype store and worked up a business plan... V P n (not pron)
course work , coursework
Course work is work that students do during a course, rather than in exams, especially work that counts towards a student's final grade. n-uncount
Some 20 per cent of marks are awarded for coursework.
If you do thedonkey work, you do the hard work or the less interesting part of the work that needs to be done.
INFORMAL n-sing usu the N
Someone's life's work or life work is the main activity that they have been involved in during their life, or their most important achievement. n-sing usu poss N
An exhibition of his life's work is being shown in the garden of his home..., My father's life work was devoted to the conservation of the Longleat estate.
out of work
Someone who is out of work does not have a job. adj
...a town where half the men are usually out of work., ...an out of work actor.
Social work is work which involves giving help and advice to people with serious family problems or financial problems. n-uncount
In book-keeping, work-in-progress refers to the monetary value of work that has not yet been paid for because it has not yet been completed. (BUSINESS) n-uncount
...five million pounds' worth of finished goods and two million pounds' worth of work-in-progress.
Your work-life balance is how you organize your days, for example how many hours you spend at work, and how much time you spend with friends or doing things you enjoy. n-uncount
Senior managers stipulated work-life balance as their main criterion when choosing jobs.
work of art ( works of art plural )
1 n-count A work of art is a painting or piece of sculpture which is of high quality.
...a collection of works of art of international significance.
2 n-count A work of art is something which is very complex or which has been skilfully made or produced.
The actual nest is a work of art.
work-shy , workshy
If you describe someone as work-shy, you disapprove of them because you think they are lazy and do not want to work.
(BRIT) adj usu ADJ n (disapproval)
work surface ( work surfaces plural ) , worksurface A work surface is a flat surface, usually in a kitchen, which is easy to clean and on which you can do things such as prepare food. n-count
work week ( work weeks plural ) A work week is the amount of time during a normal week which you spend doing your job.
(mainly AM) n-count
The union had sought a wage increase and a shorter work week.
in BRIT, usually use working week