I. work work 1 [wɜːk ǁ wɜːrk] verb
1. [intransitive] to do a job that you are paid for:

• Harry is 78 and still working.

• Most of the people I went to school with work in factories.

work for

• David works for a broadcasting company.

work as

• She works as a financial consultant.

2. [intransitive, transitive] HUMAN RESOURCES to do the activities or duties that are part of your job:

• Sally isn't working tomorrow.

• I'm tired of working ten-hour days.

3. [transitive] MARKETING to travel around a particular area as part of your job, especially in order to sell something:

• Markovitz works the Tri-State area.

4. [intransitive] to do an activity which needs time and effort:

• We had to work non-stop to get the book finished on time.

5. work somebody hard to make someone use a lot of time and effort in a job or activity:

• The company is famous for working its employees hard.

6. [transitive] if you work a particular material such as metal, leather etc, you cut or shape it in order to make something
7. work the land/​soil FARMING to do all the work necessary to grow crops on a piece of land:

• Our family has worked this land for generations.

8. work a mine MANUFACTURING to remove a substance such as coal, gold, or oil from a mine
9. [intransitive] if a machine or piece of equipment works, it does what it is supposed to do:

• Is the photocopier working now?

10. [transitive] to operate a machine or piece of equipment:

• The check-out is slow, because only two clerks work the cash registers.

11. [intransitive] if a method, plan, or system works, it produces the results you want:

• The article gives a good understanding of how the pharmaceutical research process works.

12. [intransitive] if something such as a fact, situation, or system works in a particular way, it has a particular effect on somebody or something:

• The tax laws tend to work against small companies.

13. work an organization/​system etc to know how to influence an organization etc in order to achieve something:

• Those who advance in this environment are people with an instinct for securing supplies, cultivating connections and working the system.

14. work your way up if you work your way up, or work your way up in an organization, your jobs in it become more and more important:

• They have spent their entire careers at the firm and worked their way up the ranks.

15. work to rule , work to contract HUMAN RESOURCES to protest about a situation at work by doing your job less quickly or effectively than usual, but without breaking your employer's rules or the terms of your contract:

• The staff are not on strike but are working to rule.

— see also work-to-rule
work out phrasal verb
1. [transitive] worksomething ↔ out to calculate an amount, price, or value:

• We need to work out how much they owe us.

• Can anyone work this bill out?

2. [intransitive] if something works out at a particular amount, you calculate that it costs that amount:
work out at

• The bill works out at £15 each.

• If we employ contract workers, it's going to work out very expensive.

3. worksomething ↔ out [transitive] to think carefully about how you are going to do something and plan a good way of doing it:

• The leading industrial nations have agreed to work out some arrangements for debt rescheduling.

4. be worked out MANUFACTURING if a mine is worked out, all the coal, gold etc has been removed from it
  [m0] II. work work 2 noun [uncountable]
1. the job you are paid to do or an activity that you do regularly to earn money:

• My father started work when he was 14.

• The work was interesting and well paid.

• He eventually found work on a construction site.

• She's been out of work (= not had a job ) for almost a year now.

• He has been off work (= not working because of illness ) for four weeks because of his wrist condition.

• Many women take part-time work while they are raising children.

• 6.3 million people are working part time but would prefer full-time work.

ˈcasual work HUMAN RESOURCES
work that uses workers employed for a short period of time
ˈpiece work also piecework HUMAN RESOURCES
work that is paid according to the number of things you produce rather than the number of hours you work:

• Much demolition work is done on a piece work basis.

2. a place where you do your job, which is not your home:

• He left work at the usual time.

• Jo's still at work.

3. HUMAN RESOURCES the duties and activities that are part of your job:

• What kind of work are you looking for?

• A large part of the work we do involves using computers.

• I wouldn't be very good at manual work (= hard physical work ) .

4. work in progress abbreviation WIP work or products that are in the process of being done or made, but are not yet finished:

• Some journals expect editors to retain responsibility for work in progress when they leave.

5. work in process abbreviation WIP work or products that are in the process of being done or made, but are not yet finished — see also works

* * *

work UK US /wɜːk/ verb
[I or T] HR, WORKPLACE to do a job, especially to earn money: »

Do you work?


He works as a computer technician.


My brother works for a large American corporation.


How many people work at your company?


work full-time/part-time/from home


work an eight-hour day/hard/long hours


work in a bank/factory/an office

[I] to spend time and effort doing something: »

We were working on the presentation all night.


The two countries worked together on developing the technology.


Multinationals will have to work with governments to achieve the best balance between openness and security.

[I] to try hard to achieve or improve something: work at/on sth »

You need to work on your communication skills.


I'm not very confident on the phone, but I'm prepared to work at it.

be working towards sth »

Our firm is working towards being a paperless environment.

[I] to be effective or successful: »

The plan seemed to work well.


The current system isn't working, so we'll need to look at an alternative.

[I] WORKPLACE, IT if a machine or piece of equipment works, it operates as expected: »

My computer isn't working.


I can't get this printer to work.

[T] INFORMAL WORKPLACE, IT to operate a machine or piece of equipment: »

He doesn't even know how to work a photocopier.

[T] COMMERCE to go around a particular area that you are responsible for, especially in a sales job: »

His sales were better when he was working the London area.

[I] to have a good or bad effect: »

The terms they're offering don't work for us.


His poor command of English worked against him in the interview.


Her previous sales experience worked in her favour.

[T] to change the shape of a material to make something else with it: »

work leather/metal

work a mine — Cf. work a mine
work sb hard — Cf. work sb hard
work it so (that) — Cf. work it so that
work the land — Cf. work the land
work the system — Cf. work the system
work things out — Cf. work things out
work your way up sth — Cf. work your way up sth
work UK US /wɜːk/ noun [U]
HR the job that someone does, usually to earn money: full-time/part-time work »

Many pensioners will have to consider part-time work to supplement their retirement plans.

find/get/look for work »

The government's initiative helps the unemployed find work.


He's been out of work for six months now.


permanent/regular/temporary work


paid/unpaid/voluntary work


badly paid/well-paid work


give up/go back to/return to work

WORKPLACE a place, such as an office, a factory, etc., where someone goes to do their job: »

The Managing Director always arrived at work early and stayed late.


She claimed her stress was the result of the bank's hostile work environment.

be at/go to/leave work »

What time do you go to work in the morning?

WORKPLACE the responsibilities that are part of your job: start/finish/stop work »

I don't finish work until 6.30 pm.


I need to take some time off work to look after my son.


Analysts refer to various sources of information to help them make investment decisions in their day-to-day work.


The government launched an inquiry into the work of the Monetary Policy Committee.


do/enjoy/hate your work


factory/manual/office work


administrative/clerical/secretarial work

WORKPLACE the tasks that need to be completed: do/produce/take on work »

The department can't take on any more work until this project is finished.


I always end up taking work home at the weekend.

the mental or physical effort involved in doing or achieving something: »

The builders started work on the new offices last week.

carry out/put in work »

The whole team put in a lot of hard work to win the contract.


We need to set to work on reviewing our claims system.


The finance department has been hard at work on its year-end report.


Management still has a lot of work to do to ensure the company's future.


The committee's report was a very good piece of work.


good/hard work


innovative/major/outstanding work

works — Cf. works
works — Cf. works
have your work cut out for you — Cf. have your work cut out for you
in the works — Cf. in the works
See also CASUAL(Cf. ↑casual), CONTINGENT WORK(Cf. ↑contingent work), MAKE-WORK(Cf. ↑make-work), OUT OF WORK(Cf. ↑out of work), PIECEWORK(Cf. ↑piecework), PUBLIC WORKS(Cf. ↑public works), WELFARE TO WORK(Cf. ↑welfare to work), WORK IN PROGRESS(Cf. ↑work in progress)
See Note JOB(Cf. ↑job)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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